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Ph.D. Candidate Wins Prestigious Postdoctoral Fellowship in Philosophy


Ph.D. Candidate Wins Prestigious Postdoctoral Fellowship in Philosophy

Competitive award will enable Patrick Todd of UC Riverside to conduct research in analytic theology in Europe for two years.

(October 18, 2011)

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Patrick Todd

Patrick Todd

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – Patrick Todd, a Ph.D. candidate in philosophy at UC Riverside, has won a prestigious postdoctoral fellowship awarded jointly by the Theological Faculty of Innsbruck University and the Munich School of Philosophy, funded by the John Templeton Foundation.

The two-year fellowship in analytic theology, which is highly competitive, pays 59,000 Euros a year (approximately $81,000 U.S.) plus 4,000 Euros a year (approximately $5,500 U.S.) for travel.

Todd will be based primarily at the University of Innsbruck in Austria beginning in January 2012 and will work part time at the Munich School of Philosophy in Germany. He will teach and pursue research in free will, moral responsibility, agency and philosophy of religion.

"Patrick Todd is already a remarkably productive young philosopher who has published important articles in the very top journals in academic philosophy worldwide,” said John Martin Fischer, chair of the UCR Department of Philosophy. “I expect him to continue to make significant contributions in the areas of free will, moral responsibility, metaphysics, and philosophy of religion. It has been a true pleasure and honor to work with Patrick, who is also a very fine young man from a great family."

The fellowship is part of a larger Templeton project to bring the resources of analytical philosophy to theology and philosophy of religion, Fischer said, adding, “This is a significant achievement for Patrick, and a truly exciting and wonderful opportunity.”

The fellowship enables young scholars to use contemporary analytic methods to pursue independent research in the fields of divine and human agency, such as moral responsibility and freedom of will; or philosophy of mind and its theological implications, such as the presence of the divine in a natural world and the emergence of consciousness. The Pennsylvania-based foundation describes itself as a “philanthropic catalyst for discoveries relating to the Big Questions of human purpose and ultimate reality.”

Todd earned his B.A. in philosophy from Baylor University and an M.A. in philosophy from the University of Missouri. He grew up in Dallas, and graduated from Lake Highlands High School. His family resides in Dallas.

In spring 2011 he won first prize in the paper competition for the 2010 St. Thomas Summer Seminar, sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation. He also held a visiting graduate student fellowship to conduct research at the Center for Philosophy of Religion at the University of Notre Dame.

His postdoctoral research project, “Divine Foreknowledge, the Philosophy of Time, and the Metaphysics of Dependence: Some New Approaches to an Old Problem,” assesses a core Ockhamist thesis about foreknowledge. William of Ockham was a 13th century philosopher.

“The central contention of the Ockhamist concerns a point about the order of explanation. According to the Ockhamist, it is because of what we do that God long ago believed that we would do these things. That is, God’s past beliefs depend in an important sense on what we do, and thus, says the Ockhamist, we can sometimes have a choice about God’s past beliefs,” he explained. “The overarching goal of this project is to develop and assess this core Ockhamist thesis along two underexplored dimensions: the philosophy of time, and the metaphysics of dependence – both of which have seen an explosion of recent interest.”

The University of California, Riverside (www.ucr.edu) is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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