• Action, Love, and the World: An Inquiry Into the Political Relevance of Christian Charity (With Constant Reference to Hannah Arendt)

      Kuipers, Ronald A.; Tebbutt, Andrew; Institute for Christian Studies (Institute for Christian Studies, 2013-03-21)
      In The Human Condition, Hannah Arendt identifies the central principle that has defined Christian communities since their earliest appearance as “worldlessness.” On Arendt’s analysis, Christianity has always tended to found relations between people on charity, a virtue that, due to its affiliation with the anti-political experience of passionate love, is incapable of serving as the basis of any public realm or common political world. This thesis aims to reconcile the virtue of charity to Arendt’s political vision on the basis of a reconsideration of love’s “worldlessness.” In the first two chapters, I characterize Arendt as a political thinker and provide an account of her ideas of political action and the common world. In the third chapter, I place Arendt’s understanding of the world in dialogue with Jean-Luc Marion’s phenomenological account of charity, which dissociates charity from the idea of passion and presents it as an act of will through which one resolves to see past the simple objectivity of the world and to perceive the invisible “flesh” or personhood of others. Charity is “worldless”—and thus crucial to an Arendtian understanding of politics—in the sense that it looks beyond what the world automatically makes present in order to “see” the other person and to invite her voice into the common world of speech and action.
    • The Allusivity of Grammar: Developing theory and pedagogy for linguistic aesthetics

      Sweetman, Robert; de Boer, Julia Rosalinda; Institute for Christian Studies (Institute for Christian Studies, 2018-01-11)
    • Anaximander and the Relation Between Myth and Philosophy in the Sixth Century B.C.

      Wolters, Albert M.; Rowe, William V.; Institute for Christian Studies (Institute for Christian Studies, 1979)
      This paper is a study of the pre-Socratic, Milesian philosopher Anaximander, in light of the question concerning the rise of philosophy and its relation to myth in the sixth century B.C. We are restricting our inquiry to Anaximander to make our consideration of the myth/philosophy relation more manageable. Thus we will assume that Anaximander's thought is indicative of the general status of this relationship in his time and milieu. We chose Anaximander also because of the great diversity of interpretations of his thought in current pre-Socratic scholarship. Differences in approach to Anaximander reflect differences concerning the nature of pre-Socratic thought in general. Differences with regard to the pre-Socratics in turn reflect ultimate assumptions as to the nature of philosophy and the historical circumstances in which it arose. Therefore, a considerable part of our study will concern itself with the major Anaximander-interpretations in the literature, their key assumptions and their relationships to existing traditions in pre-Socratic research. This part of the study will be carried out in preparation for our own interpretation of Anaximander and the relation between myth and philosophy visible in his thought. The latter will be conducted in dialogue with the other interpretations and with a conscious awareness of its own hermeneutical assumptions.
    • Beliefs and the Scientific Enterprise: a Framework Model Based on Kuhn's Paradigms, Polanyi's Commitment Framework, and Radnitzky's Internal Steering Fields

      Hart, Hendrik; Joldersma, Clarence W.; Institute for Christian Studies (Institute for Christian Studies, 1983)
      In this thesis I attempt to develop an alternative to the logical positivist's image of science, which attempts to exclude beliefs from scientific investigations. First I set the problem up by describing what the positivists mean by belief and how they attempt to exclude belief through the use of the scientific method. I begin to develop an alternative by examining the views of three philosophers of science: Thomas S. Kuhn, Michael Polanyi, and Gerard Radnitzky. Each of them provides an alternative to the positivistic conception of science by suggesting that scientific research is surrounded by a framework of tacit beliefs. I present each view in the following way. First I describe the background and context for the framework hypothesis; then I explain the framework itself, including discussions on the nature of the framework, how it is acquired, its role in visible scientific activity, and how switches from one framework to another occur; finally I assess each person's insights, including each's relevance for my thesis. The examination of these views sets the stage for my last chapter. Here I briefly compare the three thinkers, noting similarities and differences. Then I highlight each thinker's unique insights. Finally, I present a brief description of what I believe is a viable alternative to the positivistic image of science, based on the work of the three philosophers.
    • Bonhoeffer and Berkouwer On the World, Humans, and Sin: Two Models of Ontology and Anthropology

      Olthuis, James H.; Bouma-Prediger, Steven; Institute for Christian Studies (Institute for Christian Studies, 1984-06)
    • Brandom and Hegel on Objectivity, Subjectivity and Sociality: A Tune Beyond Us, Yet Ourselves

      Zuidervaart, Lambert; Koslowski, P.; DeMoor, Michael James; Institute for Christian Studies (Institute for Christian Studies, 2011-07)
      This dissertation is an exposition and critique of Robert Brandom's theory of discursive objectivity. It discusses this theory both within the context of Brandom's own systematic philosophical project and, in turn, within the ideas and questions characteristic of the Kantian and post-Kantian tradition in German philosophy. It is argued that Brandom's attempt to articulate a theory of the objectivity of discursive norms (and hence also of the content of discursive attitudes) resembles J.G. Fichte's development of themes central to Kant's philosophy. This "Fichtean" approach to the problem of objectivity is then compared and contrasted to that of G.W.F. Hegel. Though Brandom, Fichte and Hegel share the desire to derive an account of the conditions of objectivity from the social character is discursive practices, Hegel offers a version of this project that differs with respect to the nature of self-consciousness, sociality and truth. It is then argued that Brandom's theory suffers significant internal inconsistencies that could be avoided by adopting a more "Hegelian" approach to these three themes. More specifically, Brandom's own project requires that he recognize the necessity and irreducibility of firstperson and second-person discursive attitudes, as well as that he recognize the role of "I-We" social practices for discursive objectivity. Furthermore, he must include in his explanations some form of natural teleology and hence he must abandon his deflationary approach to semantic explanation. However, Brandom's methodological and metaphysical commitments prevent him from doing so.
    • Compassion and Protest in the Art of Kaethe Schmidt Kollwitz

      Seerveld, Calvin; Reimer, Priscilla Beth; Institute for Christian Studies (Institute for Christian Studies, 1989-11)
    • A Crushing Truth for Art: Martin Heidegger's Meditation on Truth and the Work of Art in Der Ursprung des Kunstwerkes

      Seerveld, Calvin; Knudsen, Donald L.; Institute for Christian Studies (Institute for Christian Studies, 1987)
    • The Dangerously Divine Gift: a Biblical Theology of Power

      Sweetman, Robert; McGuire, Rachel A.; Institute for Christian Studies (Institute for Christian Studies, 2015-05)
      This dissertation develops a large-scale biblically-shaped theo-ethical narrative of power. Propelled by a liberationist commitment, this work first stands in solidarity with earth's marginalized majorities, and then focuses its lens on the social location of "middle agents." In the global economic/power structure, middle agents (the eighteen percent) live and work in the space between the two percent who own over half the world and the eighty percent who earn less than ten dollars per day. The method is constructive. The work develops a scriptural narration of power that starts in creation, moves through the fall(the first act of commodification), and into violence, empire and the demonic. The central part of the project concentrates on the particular predicament of middle agents in complex globalizing regimes. Staying close to the gospel (particularly Luke and Mark), in the second half, an ethic of hospitality is developed – one that rearranges power structures, moving practitioners personally, communally, and societally toward a world of shared power. The story of power closes with a reading of apocalypse as the falling away of parasitic and violent structures, and the emergence of new creation on earth. The academic approach is interdisciplinary. At each stage, relevant academic conversations are engaged in biblical studies (e.g. Ellen Davis, Terence Fretheim, William Herzog, Richard Horsley, Sylvia Keesmaat, Catherine Keller, J. Richard Middleton and Ched Myers), liberation theology/praxis (e.g. James Cone, Ada Maria Isasi-Diaz, Gustavo Gutiérrez, Martin Luther King Jr., Kwok Pui-Lan and Letty Russell), and social theory (e.g. Hannah Arendt, Jacques Derrida and Michel Foucault).
    • Democracy Without Secularism: A Pragmatist Critique of Habermas

      Kuipers, Ronald A.; van der Merwe, W. L.; Mullin, Daniel Michael; Institute for Christian Studies (Institute for Christian Studies, 2012-12)
      Jürgen Habermas has argued that democracy depends on all citizens recognizing the legitimacy of the law. Therefore, political argument must appeal only to public reason which is secular. Religious citizens must translate their reasons into a secular language accessible to the public. This dissertation argues that religious arguments are justified in public discourse if they refrain from dogmatism. Moreover, there is nothing inherent in secular reasons that make them publicly accessible or likely to generate consensus among members of a pluralistic society. If we treat religious arguments as simply arguments with controversial premises, it becomes less clear why religious arguments are singled out as particularly problematic for liberal democracies, since many secular political arguments share this feature. Granted, religious reasons are unlikely to secure consensus, but this does not count against them if consensus is not the goal of democratic discourse. This dissertation makes the case that Habermas, and other liberal theorists such as Rawls, have placed too much emphasis on consensus as the goal of democracy. Moreover, what they refer to is not practical consensus achieved pragmatically through compromise, but an idealized consensus that is the achievement of secular reason. This is problematic for two main reasons: there is no normative reason to think we ought to attain such consensus and such consensus is unlikely to be achieved in practice. Thus, there seems to be no normative force to the claim that religious citizens out to translate their arguments in secular language.
    • A Different Conversion by a Different C.S. Lewis: An Analysis of Surprised By Joy

      Sweetman, Robert; Knibbe, Stefan; Institute for Christian Studies (Institute for Christian Studies, 2015-05)
      C.S. Lewis is perhaps as well known for his life story as his literary accomplishments. Central to that narrative is his shocking conversion from atheism to Christianity. Despite this Surprised by Joy, Lewis's primary work on the subject, has not been the centre of a focused study. This thesis reveals that, prior to writing Surprised by Joy, Lewis developed a growing appreciation for how experiences and story factored in religious belief. Rather than focusing on arguments, Surprised by Joy tells the story of how Lewis came to terms with his fundamental experiences of the world. Tension between these experiences and his worldview drove Lewis onward until they were reconciled by his acceptance of The True Myth. Using Vollenhoven's Reformed Philosophy, I show the implications of Surprised by Joy: that the stories we feel ourselves to be living in circumscribe our experiences and knowledge, and that conversion involves coming to inhabit the biblical story.
    • Discourse and the Common Good: Legitimation and Plurality in Habermas and MacIntyre

      Chaplin, Jonathan; Smith, Adam Benjamin; Institute for Christian Studies (Institute for Christian Studies, 2006)
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    • Dooyeweerd's Theory of Public Justice: a Critical Exposition

      Marshall, Paul A.; Chaplin, Jonathan; Institute for Christian Studies (Institute for Christian Studies, 1983-06)
    • A Dream That Begins in Responsibility: Philosophy, Rorty, and the Other

      Hart, Hendrik; Kuipers, Ronald A.; Institute for Christian Studies (Institute for Christian Studies, 1994-11)
    • Education for Re-Indigenization: Toward an Econormative Philosophy of Education

      Andreas, Jonathan Peter; Institute for Christian Studies (Institute for Christian Studies, 2021)
      The proliferation of ecological crises on the Earth in the twenty-first century is mainly due to a human arrogance founded on the metanarrative of anthropocentrism. Whereas Jesus rejected a claim to imperial power, Christianity is guilty of supporting Western civilization’s trajectory of colonization, genocide, and ecocide. Christian education has done little more than lay a thin veil of piety over the industrial model of preparing students for successful placement in the machine of Progress. All of this rests on a Platonic dualism: man [sic] over nature/creation, civilized over uncivilized, orthodoxy over orthopraxy, mind over body. By separating meaning from being and segregating learning from the real world, the Western educational model leaves students adrift in a fragmented and abstract existence. This contrasts significantly with Native American and other Indigenous epistemologies and educational philosophies. To help heal the Earth and reclaim the econormative core of the Christian lifeway requires that we once again educate our children to be Indigenous in their local bioregion.
    • Faith, Knowledge and Science: A Systematic Exposition of the Thought of Michael Polanyi

      Seerveld, Calvin; Anastasiou, Harry; Institute for Christian Studies (Institute for Christian Studies, 1979)
    • Fiction as Philosophy: Reading the Work of Christine de Pizan and Luce Irigaray to Write a Hermeneutics of Socially Transformative Fiction-mediated Philosophy

      Sweetman, Robert; Carr, Allyson Ann; Institute for Christian Studies (Institute for Christian Studies, 2011-06)
      This dissertation proposes to examine the work of scholars Christine de Pizan and Luce Irigaray in order to develop the possibilities of fiction in philosophy for the purposes of social transformation. Using four of her major narrative texts (The Mutacion of Fortune, the City of Ladies, the Path of Long Study and the Vision) I show how Christine employs the complex array of hermeneutical tools available to her in fictionalized ways as a means of training her readers into re-writing their understanding of themselves and their contexts. Alongside such re-writings, I show that she understands herself to have a particular vocation for educating the powers of France towards ethical action in their governance, and that she does so in these works in the form of philosophically oriented fictionalizations. I use the work of Luce Irigaray to explore a philosopher from the twentieth and twenty-first century who uses narrative and hermeneutical tools that bear a family resemblance to Christine's. Tracing Irigaray's formulations on the necessity of sexual difference I show how she re-tells stories from myth and history in such a way as to develop the sexual difference she desires. Finally, having engaged with these two philosophers, I use the hermeneutical work of Hans-Georg Gadamer to present my own work on how well-crafted fiction can be used to build philosophical concepts and understandings that are not yet available in our world, but which become available to us through our participation in the new fictionalized contexts and fictional worlds we create. I show how it is through understanding the possibilities this kind of philosophical and fictionalized utopic thinking holds that social transformation rooted in the world-building capabilities of individual persons can occur.
    • Forgiveness: the Gift and Its Counterfeit

      Olthuis, James H.; VanderBerg, James; Institute for Christian Studies (Institute for Christian Studies, 2002-11)
    • Foucault, Levinas and the Ethical Embodied Subject

      Zuidervaart, Lambert; Lok, Wing-Kai; Goris, W.; Institute for Christian Studies (Institute for Christian Studies, 2011-07-05)
      This dissertation attempts to interrogate whether the postmodern anti-essentialist approach to the body can truly recognize the ethical value of the body. For the postmodernists, the value of the human body has long been repressed by Cartesian rationalism and dualism that privileges the mind over the body. Dualism is a form of reductionism that reduces either the mind to the body or the body to the mind. It not only fails to recognize an interaction between mind and body, but also privileges one side at the expense of the other. For instance, rationalism is a dualist reductionism since it always explains the body and matter in terms of mind or reason. Thus, dualism not only refers to a split or separation between mind and body, but also refers to a reductive relation between mind and body.
    • From Cynical Reason to Spiritual Creativity: An Exercise in Religious Anthropodicy

      Sweetman, Robert; Dettloff, Dean; Institute for Christian Studies (Institute for Christian Studies, 2015)
      This thesis explores the cultural ideology of cynicism as identified and critiqued by Peter Sloterdijk, who describes cynicism as an "enlightened false consciousness" that is "universal and diffuse." As an ideology, cynicism perpetuates the conditions of unjust society, but it is impervious to criticism. Instead of further critique, the thesis suggests religious traditions can offer means of overcoming the enclosure of cynical consciousness. Chapter one outlines Sloterdijk's approach to cynicism, including its historical development. Chapter two considers cynicism as a problem of self-understanding and proposes religion reveals that human beings are malleable through practices and techniques. Chapter three looks at three such techniques--awareness, compassion, and creativity--and offers them as solutions to cynical consciousness. The thesis aims, overall, to offer a way of considering the continued relevance and possibility of religious traditions, practices, and techniques to a cynical society such that alternative self-understandings and alternative social configurations might be made possible.