Mark Spencer wins American Catholic Philosophical Association's Young Scholar Award

Published September 18, 2015

Mark Spencer, a recent UB Philosophy graduate, has won the American Catholic Philosophical Association's (ACPA) Young Scholar Award. This award is given to the scholar under the age of thirty-five who is judged to have written the best paper among those accepted for presentation at the ACPA meeting and publication in the proceedings. Mark will be presented with the award at a special ceremony during the ACPA's annual conference banquet in Washington DC next week. The other award to be given out during the banquet is the Aquinas medal for lifetime achievement. Professor Jorge Gracia won that prestigious prize a few years ago.

"Habits, Potencies, and Obedience: Experiential Evidence for Thomistic Hylomorphism"

Mark's paper is called "Habits, Potencies, and Obedience: Experiential Evidence for Thomistic Hylomorphism". It extends the argument that he gave in his dissertation chaired by Professot Jorge Gracia. Below is Mark's abstract:

Thomistic hylomorphism holds that human persons are composed of matter and a form that is also a subsistent entity. Some object that nothing can be both a form and a subsistent entity, and some proponents of Thomistic hylomorphism respond that our experience, as described by phenomenology, provides us with evidence that this theory is true. In this paper, I show how some scholastics themselves, including Aquinas and Suárez, give evidence for Thomistic hylomorphism from their descriptions of our experience of forming and using habits. I consider their account of experiences of different kinds of habits, and of the different kinds of potencies and obedience to reason that underlie their habits. Then I show that these experiences provide evidence for Thomistic hylomorphism, and evidence that the objection fails.

About the ACPA: Since 1926, scholars and thinkers, mostly based in Canada and the United States, have forged a unique tradition and community known as the "American Catholic Philosophical Association." Steeped in classical sources and cultivating the Catholic Philosophical heritage, this tradition is known for creative engagement with major philosophers of every era and bold responses to the themes and issues of contemporary philosophy.