Eric Noe, Keavy, who graduated from Eastern Kentucky University in May with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy, is the winner of the Dr. James Robert Miller Annual Best Philosophy Thesis Award for 2015.
The award is given to the student who writes the best senior philosophy thesis as determined by a committee of at least five members of the Department of Philosophy and Religion faculty. Noe’s thesis, “Concerning the Free Spirit and the Problem of Consciousness,” takes up Friedrich Nietzsche’s charge to the new philosophers to translate man back into nature. According to Noe’s thesis, “The biggest obstacle that the free spirit must overcome is ‘self-consciousness.’”
Dr. Ron Messerich of the Department of Philosophy and Religion was the faculty adviser for Noe's thesis.
The award was established to honor the memory of Dr. James Robert Miller, longtime chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religion, who taught at EKU from 1971 until his retirement in 2001 and is fondly remembered as a terrific teacher, tenacious debater and practical joker who kept his colleagues on their toes with his antics, according to Dr. Laura Newhart, current chair of the department. Miller was active in the EKU Faculty Senate, serving many years as its parliamentarian. The fund that supports the award is sustained by multiple donors and gifts to EKU in his name. Thanks to the generosity of Donald K. Miller, Miller’s brother, the monetary prize that will accompany the award each year has been increased from $100 to $500.
The Department of Philosophy and Religion sponsored a reception on Friday, May 15, to celebrate the inauguration of the Dr. James Robert Miller Annual Best Philosophy Thesis Award and to honor Noe as its first recipient. Many of Miller’s family and friends from across campus and the country were present.