A new book authored by Talbot School of Theology professor and renowned philosopher Dr. J.P. Moreland alongside coauthor alumnus Brandon Rickabaugh (‘13) seeks to address the question “What is a human being?” The book, The Substance of Consciousness: A Comprehensive Defense of Contemporary Substance Dualism, according to Moreland is his “magnum opus” — a culmination of 30 years studying the topic of consciousness.

“It's importance resides in the fact that the number one most fundamental question of our culture — especially our academic and elite culture — is what is a human being,” said Moreland.

Aimed to answer the most fundamental question of our culture, “What is a human being?,” the authors present a defense for contemporary substance dualism, which makes the claim that the human person is an embodied fundamental, immaterial, and unifying substance.

“[We] produce[d] what we believe will be the best defense of the soul in print. Reviewers so far have agreed,” said Moreland.

In addition to providing a comprehensive, up-to-date, and rigorous work on substance dualism, the book provides a detailed history of how property and substance dualism have been presented and evaluated over the last 150 years. The authors developed new and updated positive arguments for substance dualism and discuss key metaphysical notions and distinctions that inform the examination of substance dualism and its alternatives.

“This book is a tour de force on the topic of consciousness. The authors offer a depth of analysis that interacts with the latest and best work on this topic in recent years,” said author and professor of Philosophy at Azusa Pacific University Joshua Rasmussen (‘04).

Published by Wiley Blackwell in September, Moreland believes The Substance of Consciousness has the opportunity to earn a place in the libraries of consciousness researchers, philosophical theologians and religious studies scholars.

Moreland has authored or contributed to ninety-five books, including Does God Exist? (Prometheus), Universals (McGill-Queen’s), and Consciousness and the Existence of God (Routledge). He has also published around one hundred articles in journals such as Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, American Philosophical Quarterly, Australasian Journal of Philosophy, and Religious Studies.

In 2016 and 2022, Moreland was selected by The Best Schools as one of the 50 most influential living philosophers in the world. Recently, Academic Influence ranked Moreland as the 4,710 the most influential person in the world, the 80th most influential religious studies professor in the world (and the 33rd in the United States), the 20th most influential philosopher of religion in the world (and 15th in the United States), and the 33rd most influential metaphysician in the world (21st in the United States).

“It is a humbling honor to be recognized this way and I owe so much to my beloved colleagues in the Talbot Philosophy Department,” said Moreland. “The main reason this means so much resides in the fact that my heart's desire —making an impact for the Kingdom —is coming true. As long as the Lord gives me energy and breath, I want to finish well and be faithful to my calling.”

Learn more about the book.

Written by Reina Lee, University Communications intern. For more information, contact Media Relations at media.relations@biola.edu.