Baylor Names New Distinguished Professor in Philosophy

May 2, 2006

Dr. Jon Kvanvig, chair of the department of philosophy at the University of Missouri, has been named Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at Baylor University. The position he will fill was held by the late Carl Vaught, who died in September 2005.

"Dr. Vaught's untimely death left a significant hole in the department, for he was both a skilled teacher (and loved by the both the undergraduate and graduate students he taught) and prolific scholar, known most recently for his work in Augustine," said Dr. Michael Beaty, chair of the Baylor philosophy department. "We wanted to hire someone who is at least as well-known for their excellence in teaching and in scholarship."

A Baylor alumnus, Vaught taught in the philosophy department at Pennsylvania State University for 31 years, serving as head of the department from 1982-92. In addition to numerous articles in books and professional journals, Vaught was the author of Essays in Metaphysics, The Quest for Wholeness and The Sermon on the Mount: A Theological Investigation (rev. ed.). He also published a three-volume work about Augustine's Confessions with SUNY Press. Vaught was named a Baylor Distinguished Alumnus in 1993.

"Dr. Kvanvig's hiring brings to our department someone who is a highly regarded teacher of both undergraduate and graduate students and a scholar of national and international reputation," Beaty said. "His expertise broadens and deepens our program. So, we are delighted to have filled the enormous gap in our program left by Carl's death with someone of the caliber of Jon Kvanvig."

Kvanvig received his bachelor's degree from Evangel College, his master's degree from the University of Missouri and his doctorate from the University of Notre Dame. A faculty member at Missouri since 2001, he previously taught at Notre Dame and Texas A&M University.

An expert in metaphysics and epistemology as well as philosophy of religion, Kvanvig also has worked in unusual areas, such as teaching public policy courses at the Bush School of Government at Texas A&M and writing amici (friend of the court) briefs for the Supreme Court through the Clarendon Foundation. He worked on cases involving significant philosophical issues, including cases on abortion, violations of the Establishment Clause, and justice concerns such as funding for public education and hate crimes legislation.

He has published six books and 93 articles to date, including The Value of Knowledge and the Pursuit of Understanding, The Problem of Hell and the forthcoming The Knowability Paradox. He also is the editor of the Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion.

He is on the board of editorial consultants for Faith & Philosophy, the journal of the Society of Christian Philosophers, and he organizes an annual conference in the philosophy of religion, which he is bringing with him to Baylor. He also has accepted a position to begin in 2008 as Network Researcher with the Arche Research Center for Philosophy of Logic, Language, Mathematics, and Mind at the University of St. Andrews.

Kvanvig is married to Carol Dobbs, who is a registered nurse working at the University of Missouri Hospitals in cardiology. They have two children - Brittany, a sophomore in high school, and Jared, a senior at the University of Missouri.

The couple attends Memorial Baptist Church in Columbia, where Jon regularly teaches an adult Sunday School class. Prior to moving to Columbia in 2001, they lived in Caldwell, Texas, where they attended First Baptist Church, begun in 1843 by R.E.B. Baylor prior to launching Baylor University in 1845.

For more information, contact Beaty at (254) 710-3368.

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