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Who Inspires Us: Dr. Dallas Willard

For the next few weeks, here on the blog we'll be discussing some of the incredible philosophers, psychologists, and authors that inspire our lessons and goals at Alpha Academy. This week, we'll follow Dr. Dallas Willard.

Who was Dallas Willard?

Dr. Willard was a life-changing American philosopher who wrote about Christian spiritualization and phenomenology (study of the consciousness). Willard attended William Jewell College, Tennessee Temple College, and Baylor University where he earned his B.A. in psychology and philosophy and religion. After he graduated, Willard was ordained as a Southern Baptist minister, but soon discovered his purpose in life was in academia. He then earned his Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He went on to teach philosophy at the University of Wisonsin-Madison for 5 years. After that, he moved to Los Angeles and joined the faculty at University of Southern California. He loyally served as a professor (and director of the School of Philosophy) at USC for 48 years. In 2013, Dr. Willard passed away after a battle with cancer.

Who inspired him?

Dr. Dallas Willard loved books from a young age. He was always passionate about adventure and the ways books challenged his own ideas.

As he continued his career, he became an expert on the German philosopher Edmund Husserl (the founder of phenomenology). Willard was the first to translate some of his works into English.

What does he teach?

Dallas Willard specialized in phenomenology, systematic metaphysics (examination of nature vs. reality), language, history of ethics, and philosophy of religion. His understanding of philosophy and theology established his important teachings from Christian to "secular" and its unique perspectives. He was able to uncover the important intersections between philosophical and Christian teachings.

His main question was: Who are you going to become? This question emphasizes the importance of intentionality. Dr. Willard believed it was important to live life in the way Jesus would live it.

Where can I learn more from him?

Dr. Willard has over a dozen books published. His work varies from American philosophy to Christian literature. At Alpha Academy, we use his philosophy books surrounding the issues of personal identity. You can see a list of his work here.

"The most important thing in your life is not what you do; it's who you become. That's what you will take into eternity."

- Dallas Willard


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References: Dallas Willard

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