Two philosophers from the University of Notre Dame are being recognized during commencement season with honorary degrees. Alasdair MacIntyre, Rev. John A. O’Brien Senior Research Professor of Philosophy, will receive an honorary degree from Duke University at its commencement ceremony on May 16, 2010. Peter van Inwagen, John Cardinal O’Hara Professor of Philosophy, will be given an honorary doctor of divinity by the University of St. Andrews at its 2011 convocation.
MacIntyre has authored 16 works, making significant contributions to the history of philosophy, moral philosophy, political theory, philosophy of the social sciences, and philosophy of religion. He most recently published Edith Stein: A Philosophical Prologue, 1913-1922, and two volumes of his collected papers, The Tasks of Philosophy: Selected Essays and Ethics and Politics: Selected Essays.
Rev. Sam Wells, dean of Duke Chapel, says, “Alasdair MacIntyre is quite simply the most significant philosopher of his generation. His works After Virtue; Whose Justice? Which Rationality?; and Three Rival Versions of Moral Inquiry transformed the field of philosophical—and theological—ethics. I will be moved and proud to witness someone who has so profoundly shaped my own thinking receive Duke’s most visible honor and endorsement.”
Van Inwagen has written seven books on metaphysics, philosophy of logic, philosophical theology, and Christian apologetics. He also edited Persons: Human and Divine; Christian Faith and the Problem of Evil; and Metaphysics: The Big Questions. The collection of Gifford Lectures van Inwagen delivered at St. Andrews in 2003, published as The Problem of Evil, examines the question of the coexistence of a benevolent, omniscient God with evil and suffering in the world.
Louise Richardson, principal and vice chancellor of the University of St. Andrews, says, “Peter van Inwagen is one of the leading figures in contemporary metaphysics, philosophy of religion, and philosophy of action. He has garnered a well-deserved international reputation and has played a key role in re-establishing the study of libertarianism in mainstream analytic philosophy. We are delighted to recognize publicly his outstanding personal and professional achievements.”
Both MacIntyre and van Inwagen have served as presidents of the American Philosophical Association. MacIntyre was elected to the American Philosophical Society in 2005. Van Inwagen was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in that same year.
In 2009, the College of Arts and Letters’ philosophy program was ranked No.16 in the United States by the Leiter Report, which measures the “philosophical distinction” of a program’s faculty by surveying academics in the field.