Last week Tyndale University College announced that Richard Davis has been promoted to Professor of Philosophy. This promotiton is a significant achievement and I wanted to use the occasion to say a few words about my good friend and colleague.
A brief look at Rich’s CV makes it obvious that this is a well deserved honor. In addition to a monograph on theistic metaphysics, he’s published over 25 scholarly articles and edited three books. He’s served on the Executive Committee of the Evangelical Philosophical Society and has served as a referee for numerous shcolarly journals. Even more impressive than the number of scholarly works he’s published is the range of topics those works cover. While much of his work is in metaphysics, he’s also published important articles in philosophy of religion, apologetics, ethics, epistemology, and even a few on the Arabic philosophers Al-Kindi and Averroes. After finishing up one of our frequent office conversations, I would often ask myself if there were any areas of philosophy that he’s not thought deeply about. His publication record suggests there may not be.
I could go on for some time listing out Rich’s wonderful attributes as a scholar, but I’ll leave that for now. After all, I would be quite sad if an administrator at some other school read this and decided he should be working for them instead! I would, however, like to conclude by sharing a few words about what it’s been like to have Rich as a colleague.
In deciding whether to come to Tyndale I did a bit of asking around about the school. In doing so I had three different people say to me nearly the exact same thing. Each of them said something along the lines of, “I can’t imagine how you could ever have a better colleague than Rich.” After five years at Tyndale, I can enthusiastically report that they spoke the truth! In addition to giving me valuable advice about how to manage the responsibilities of teaching full-time (constructing syllabi, engaging students in the classroom, etc.), he has also always taken the time to talk with me about projects I’ve been working on. I’ve not catalogued it, but I bet we’ve discussed the core argument for every paper I’ve published or presented since coming to Tyndale. In fact, he’s spent so much time talking with me about my projects that I sometimes wonder how he has the intellectual energy to work on his own! There’s no doubt that he’s made me a far better philosopher than I would’ve been otherwise and for that I will always be deeply grateful.
If you’re not yet familiar with Rich’s writings, I highly suggest you take some time to peruse them. A great place to start would be his contributions to the Christ-Shaped Philosophy Project (“Christian Philosophy: For Whose Sake?” and “What Counts as Christian Philosophy?“) that are both freely accessible on the Evangelical Philosophical Society’s blog. See also his forthcoming co-edited book, Loving God with Your Mind: Essays in Honor of J.P. Moreland.