Paper on Aquinas earns Brandon Wanless ACPA Young Scholar's Award

This is coming a little late but better late than never.

This year's winner of the American Catholic Philosophical Association's Young Scholar's award is Brandon Wanless. The award is given to the best paper submitted for the ACPA's annual conference by a scholar 35 years old or younger.

Mr. Wanless's paper is entitled “St. Thomas Aquinas on Original Justice and the Justice of Christ: A Case Study in Christological Soteriology and Catholic Moral Theology.” Here's the abstract from the ACPA conference program:

This paper discusses the theme of “personal justice” in the Summa theologiae, a concept inherited from the Nicomachean Ethics wherein Aristotle says that a man is just toward himself only metaphorically, insofar as the parts of man are appropriately ordered with the higher ruling the lower and the body subjugated to the soul. This paper demonstrates how Aquinas extensively utilizes this concept of metaphorical justice across the tripartite division of the Summa in his accounts of original justice in the prima pars, the humanity of Christ in the tertia pars, and justification of the sinner in the secunda pars. As a response to critiques that Thomistic moral theology is not properly centered in the person of Christ, I will show that, for Aquinas, Christ’s personal justice both fulfills the right ordering of humanity lost through sin and restores that integrity to mankind in the grace of justification—the root of the Christian’s entire moral life.

There are two things worth noting. First, the Young Scholar's Award is a philosophy award and the paper is, as you see, on a theological topic. Second, Mr. Wanless is completing his PhD in theology at Ave Maria University. (Full disclosure: I teach at AMU. But I teach philosophy, not theology.)

But these two things, in a way, shouldn't be surprising. After all, there's an awful lot of philosophy in Aquinas's theology (materially speaking). And there's a significant amount of philosophy in Mr. Wanless's paper (materially speaking). It should also be noted that justice was the theme of this year's conference.

Mr. Wanless received the award last month in San Francisco, where this year's ACPA conference was held. His paper will be published in the next issue of the Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association.

ACPA Meeting "Dispositions, Habits, and Virtues" (October 10-12, 2014)

The preliminary conference schedule is now online for the 2014 annual meeting of the American Catholic Philosophical Association. The conference will meet in Washington, D.C., hosted by The Catholic University of America, with the theme “Dispositions, Habits, and Virtues”. Registration information is here. Plenary speakers are Susan Haack, Timothy B. Noone, Daniel Dahlstrom, Marilyn McCord Adams, and the Aquinas Medalist is John Rist. For the second year, the conference has expanded its offerings, and there many satellite sessions on a variety of topics.

ACPA Meeting “Aristotle Now and Then” (November 1-3, 2013)

The conference schedule is now online for the 2013 annual meeting of the American Catholic Philosophical Association. The conference, hosted by Marian University and Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), will meet in Indianapolis and the theme this year is “Aristotle Now and Then”. Registration information is here. The conference has expanded its offerings, and there many satellite sessions on a variety of topics.

ACPA Meeting "Philosophy in the Abrahamic Traditions" (November 2-4, 2012)

The conference schedule is now online for the 2012 annual meeting of the American Catholic Philosophical Association. The conference, hosted by Loyola Marymount University, will meet in Los Angeles and the theme this year is “Philosophy in the Abrahamic Traditions”. Registration information is here.

American Catholic Philosophical Association Annual Meeting on “Science, Reason and Religion” (October 28-30, 2011)

This year the ACPA meeting will be in St. Louis, on the theme “Science, Reason and Religion,” hosted by St. Louis University. The conference program and satellite session schedule are now online. The Aquinas Medal will be awarded to Jorge J. E. Gracia, who will present “Does Philosophy Have a Role to Play in Contemporary Society? The Challenges of Science and Culture.” The four plenary speakers are: 

  • John Cottingham, “Confronting the Cosmos: Scientific Rationality and Human Understanding.”
  • Michael Ruse, “Making Room for Faith: Does Science Have Limits?”
  • John F. Haught, “Darwin, Faith and Critical Intelligence.”
  • Dominic J. Balestra, “Galileo’s Legacy: Getting the Relationship In-Between Scientism and Literalism Right.” 

As usual, there will be several talks on the philosophical thought of Aquinas in the program and satellite sessions. Registration information for the conference can be found here.

American Catholic Philosophical Association Annual Meeting (November 5-7, 2010)


This year the ACPA meeting will be in Baltimore, hosted by Loyola University Maryland. The updated conference program is here. There are several sessions on the thought of Aquinas, along with the usual full slate of satellite sessions on a variety of topics. This year the Aquinas Medal will be awarded to Alasdair MacIntyre. The theme for the conference is “Philosophy and Language.” It promises to be an exciting weekend.

If you are looking for another reason to join the ACPA, here’s one: members now have electronic access to all issues the American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly (including The New Scholasticism), as well as all issues of the the ACPA Proceedings.

Upcoming ACPA Conference in New Orleans (November 13-15, 2009)

The American Catholic Philosophical Association’s (ACPA) upcoming conference in New Orleans is chock-full of fascinating papers and discussion, too many and too detailed to list here, save to say that philosophers from Aristotle to Aquinas, Scotus to Rawls are considered, debated, and resourced. Courtesy of Ed Houser of the Center for Thomistic Studies in Houston, however, are the programs for the conference in DOC (addendum) and PDF format.