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O'Connor to Deliver Mary Olive Woods Lecture Sept. 20

September 11, 2018

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MACOMB, IL -- Timothy O'Connor, professor of philosophy and a member of the Cognitive Sciences Program at Indiana University, will present the 32nd Annual Mary Olive Woods Lecture at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 20 in the University Union Heritage Room. His lecture is titled "Can it be Reasonable and Moral to Believe in One True Religion?"

O'Connor received his Ph.D. in philosophy from Cornell University in 1992, after receiving his master's and bachelor's degrees in philosophy from the University of Illinois at Chicago. He has held visiting research fellowships at the Universities of Notre Dame, St. Andrews and Oxford, and has given 175 academic lectures in 23 countries.

His main areas of scholarship are metaphysics, philosophy of mind and philosophy of religion. O'Connor is the author of two monographs (books), "Persons and Causes: The Metaphysics of Free Will" (Oxford, 2000) and "Theism and Ultimate Explanation" (Blackwell, 2008). He has published over 75 scholarly articles and edited seven books, including three inter-disciplinary explorations of "emergent" or "top-down" forms of explanation in the sciences and their implications for our understanding of human persons.

Recent writings explore the challenges to belief in human freedom and moral responsibility that come from neuroscience and social and clinical psychology. In philosophy of religion, O'Connor focuses on the metaphysics of theism (especially God's relationship to time, concurrence in "secondary" causation and necessary existence), the problem of evil, the cosmological argument from contingency and the "fine-tuning" design argument.

He is currently writing a textbook in the philosophy of religion and a book for a broader audience, called "Thinking About Faith: Philosophy, Science, and Christian Belief."

Besides teaching graduate and undergraduate courses, O'Connor teaches advanced undergraduate courses in medieval and early modern philosophy. On his website, he claims to be the "Philo-Pong World Grand Champion" – the number one table tennis player among professional philosophers.

The 32nd annual lecture is sponsored by the Mary Olive Woods Foundation, the WIU Department of Mathematics and Philosophy, and the Department of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The Mary Olive Woods Foundation also provides student scholarships in addition to the annual lecture presentation.

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