Cliff Williams, Ph.D.



Visiting Professor of Philosophy
On Faculty since 2013

Phone: (630)752-5617
Fax: (630)752-7777


Ph.D., Philosophy, Indiana University, 1972

B.A., Philosophy, Wheaton College, 1964

About Cliff Williams

I entered college thinking I would be a mathematics major, but after I took a philosophy course second semester of my freshman year I dropped that and took up philosophy. In graduate school my Ph.D. dissertation was a pretty piece of analytic metaphysics on the philosophy of time. Twenty years later I had a conversion of sorts—I decided to pursue subjects in philosophy that were more connected to human experience, such as love and friendship, virtues, and emotions, but without giving up analytic metaphysics.

The two things I most like about the teaching life are solitude and interaction with students.

In solitude I like to gaze out windows, rummage around in libraries, read, craft words and paragraphs that make their way into articles and books, and formulate new questions to ask students. I also like to be part of students’ lives as they are making something of themselves; I like to listen to them tell me about themselves and stay in touch with them after they graduate.

When I am not doing academic things, I dream of hiking in the Colorado mountains, which I do every July.

Dr. Williams' website >>

Courses Taught

  • Phil 101 Introduction to Philosophy
  • Phil 347 Love and Friendship (2)
  • Phil 347 Death and the Meaning of Life (2)
  • Phil 105 Race and Justice (Fall and Spring)
  • Phil 347 Emotions (Spring, Quad A)
  • Phil 347 Death and the Meaning of Life (Spring, Quad B)    


  • Philosophy of time
  • Virtues
  • Love and friendship
  • Existential apologetics

Professional Activities


Free Will and Determinism: A Dialogue (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1980)

Singleness of Heart: Restoring the Divided Soul (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1994; Vancouver: Regent College Publishing, 2001; Wipf & Stock Publishing, 2008)

On Love and Friendship: Philosophical Readings (Boston: Jones and Bartlett Publishers, 1995; Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing Company, 1997) Editor

The Life of the Mind: A Christian Perspective (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2002)

Personal Virtues: Introductory Essays (Houndmills and New York: Palgrave-Macmillan, 2005) Editor

The Divided Soul: A Kierkegaardian Exploration (Eugene, Oregon: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2009)

The Wisdom of Kierkegaard: A Collection of Quotations on Faith and Life (Eugene, Oregon: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2009)

Existential Reasons for Belief in God: A Defense of Desires and Emotions for Faith (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2011)


“Does God Exist Successively?” The Personalist, XLIX (Spring, 1968), 197-214

“‘Now’, Extensional Interchangeability, and the Passage of Time,” The Philosophical Forum, V (Spring, 1974), 405-423

“Meaning, Reference, and Tense,” Analysis, XXXVI (March, 1976), 132-136

“Encouraging Student Creativity,” Journal for the Improvement of Instruction, III (Spring, 1976), 16

“Pure Becoming and the Concept of Time,” The Personalist, VIII (January, 1977), 52-58

“The Irrelevance of Nonmaterial Minds,” Christian Scholar’s Review, XII (1983), 310-323

“Indeterminism and the Theory of Agency,” Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, XLV (September, 1984), 111-119

“Teaching Virtues and Vices,” Philosophy Today, 33 (Fall, 1989), 195-203

“The Date-Analysis of Tensed Sentences,” The Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 70 (June, 1992), 198-203; reprinted in The New Theory of Time, edited by L. Nathan Oaklander and Quentin Smith (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1994), 104-110

“The Phenomenology of B-Time,” The Southern Journal of Philosophy, XXX (Summer, 1992), 123-137; reprinted in The New Theory of Time, edited by L. Nathan Oaklander and Quentin Smith (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1994), 360-372 

“Love,” Ready Reference: Ethics (Salem Press, 1994), 510-511

“Kierkegaardian Suspicion and Properly Basic Beliefs,” Religious Studies, 30 (September, 1994), 261-267

“Christian Materialism and the Parity Thesis,” International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, 39 (February, 1996), 1-14

“The Metaphysics of A- and B-Time,” The Philosophical Quarterly, 46 (July, 1996), 371-381

“A Bergsonian Approach to A- and B-Time,” Philosophy, 73 (July, 1998), 379-393

“B-Time Transition,” Philosophical Inquiry, 20 (Summer-Fall, 1998), 59-63

“Topic Neutrality and the Mind-Body Problem,” Religious Studies, 36 (June, 2000), 203-207

“Beyond A- and B-Time,” Philosophia: Philosophical Quarterly of Israel, 31 (October, 2003), 75-91

“A Philosopher’s Reflections on Peacemaking and the Just War Theory,” Sacred Tribes Journal, 4 (2009), 95-112; reprinted in The Peaceable Christian, edited by Michael T. Cooper and Clifford Williams (Libertyville, Illinois: Timothy Center Press, 2011), 53-75:  View online >>

“Existential Apologetics: A Survey” (January, 2012, with students):  View online >>  

“Virtues and the Seven Deadly Sins: A Potpourri of Thoughts” (2012, with students):  View online >>

“Emotions and Christ-Shaped Philosophy,” Evangelical Philosophical Society Web Site (September, 2012):  View online >>

Interview on Existential Reasons for Belief in God, Evangelical Philosophical Society Web Site (September 25, 2012):  View online >>

Other articles and books

“The Other Side of State Street,” The Reformed Journal (January, 1977), 4-5

“Gears, Bearings, and the Like,” The Reformed Journal (February, 1977), 5-6

Roots and Reparations,” The Reformed Journal (September, 1977), 3-5

“Not Your Usual Christmas Card,” The Covenant Companion (December 15, 1977), 6-7

“Jobs and God,” The Reformed Journal (May, 1979), 16; reprinted in Young Adult Ministries Newsletter (July, 1980) and in The Christian Leader (September 8, 1981), 8

“Bombs and Taxes,” The Reformed Journal (July, 1980), 5

“God’s Clowns,” The Evangelical Beacon (February 1, 1983), 14

“‘I Cannot Accept God’s Forgiveness’,” Seek (June 26, 1983), 2-3

“Affluence, Power and Violence,” Mennonite Brethren Herald (March 9, 1984), 32

“Vulnerable People—Victims Forever?” The Marian Helpers Bulletin (October-December, 1984), 21

“A Case for the Christian College,” The Evangelical Beacon (September 2, 1985), 24-25

“The Man With the Crooked Head,” The A. M. E. Zion Quarterly Review (October, 1986), 23-25

“Silence,” Christian Standard (November 23, 1986), 14-15

“When Mercy Hurts,” Christianity Today (February 3, 1989), 16-19 View online >> 

“Visit Leaves Indelible Mark,” The A. M. E. Zion Quarterly Review, (July, 1989), 46-47

“Moral Beauty,” Spirituality Today, 42 (Spring, 1990), 4-14; reprinted in Catholic Digest (August, 1990), 44-48 View online >> 

“Spiritual Handicaps,” The Standard Bearer, 26 (No. 4, 1990), 15 (co-author)

“Listening,” Faith at Work, 103 (March/April, 1991), 10

“Pretending, Self-Justification, and Grace,” Best Sermons 4 (HarperSanFrancisco, 1991), 258-263 (A winner in Harper’s Fourth Annual Best Sermons Competition)  View online >> 

“Is Christianity Reasonable?” Pulpit Digest, 75 (September/October, 1994), 68-74

With All that We Have, Why Aren’t We Satisfied?  (Notre Dame: Sorin Books, 2001; Wipf & Stock Publishing, 2008)

Daybreakers (Notre Dame: Sorin Books, 2002; Wipf & Stock Publishing, 2008)

One More Train to Ride: The Underground World of Modern American Hoboes (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2003)

“Diary of a Mad Professor,” Trinity Magazine (Spring, 2012), 20-23 View online >> 

“Betrayal,” New Scriptor: A Forum for Illinois Educators, XIII (2012), 52-54   Download PDF

“When Christians Contemplate Suicide,” Christian Feminism Today (August, 2013) View online >>  

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