• Building a World Where Knowledge is Free

      Johnson, Matthew E.; Institute for Christian Studies (2013-10-23)
    • Building with a Borrowed Axe

      Johnson, Matthew E.; Institute for Christian Studies (2014-01-22)
    • Contemporary Art and Religion: Review of a Lecture by James Elkins

      Johnson, Matthew E.; Institute for Christian Studies (2013-05-24)
    • Conversation and Closed Beliefs: How to Talk to a Fundamentalist

      Johnson, Matthew E.; Institute for Christian Studies (2013-05-28)
    • Ethics and the Theory of Everything

      Johnson, Matthew E.; Institute for Christian Studies (2013-06-04)
    • Forty Days Later on a Thursday

      Johnson, Matthew E.; Institute for Christian Studies (2013-05-17)
    • Frayed Anthems: When Creativity Scandalized America

      Johnson, Matthew E.; Institute for Christian Studies (2013-06-25)
    • Granting Amy a Fair Hearing

      Johnson, Matthew E.; Institute for Christian Studies (2013-07-30)
    • The Hermeneutics of Ancient Astronaut Theory

      Johnson, Matthew E.; Institute for Christian Studies (2013-05-21)
    • How to Be a Being: On Brainless Bots, Martin Heidegger, and Mental Representation

      Johnson, Matthew E.; Institute for Christian Studies (2013-09-03)
    • How to Be Boring: Faking Philosophy

      Johnson, Matthew E.; Institute for Christian Studies (2013-06-11)
    • Letting It Get To You: Why Philosophy is a Dead End

      Johnson, Matthew E.; Institute for Christian Studies (2013-10-02)
    • Liberating Emergence: Human Dependence and Autonomy in Emergentism, Hermeneutics, and Pragmatism

      Kuipers, Ronald A.; Johnson, Matthew E.; Institute for Christian Studies (Institute for Christian Studies, 2014-08)
      This thesis traces a thread that runs through emergentism in analytical philosophy and the thought of five philosophers: Martin Heidegger, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Charles Taylor, John Dewey, and Richard Rorty. I suggest that the insight that connects all of these thinkers is precisely the insight that undergirds a theory of “strong emergence,” which acknowledges that in certain systems, properties emerge that exert causal influence on the system out of which they emerged. Strong emergence offers a helpful “third way” to describe human personhood that is neither reductionistic nor dualistic and maintains that the human person is both dependent upon and (within certain limits) autonomous from the system out of which it emerges. I will suggest that the hermeneutic philosophy of Heidegger, Gadamer, and Taylor clarifies the historical cultural conditions out of which the human person emerges as a critical and creative agent in a way that similarly maintains a balance between the dependence and autonomy of the human person. Dewey and Rorty, on the other hand, provide accounts of human situatedness but emphasize the creative freedom that emerges out of this situatedness, characterizing humans as artists or poets who can engage with their situatedness in novel ways. For both Dewey and Rorty, our ability to shape the future and to shape ourselves is built into our experience in the world. I will conclude that each of these five thinkers develop accounts of human personhood that resonate with strong emergence, describing how human persons are able to emerge out of their embeddedness in the world, upon which they remain ever dependent, as creative innovators.
    • Memes, Tradition, and Richard Dawkins

      Johnson, Matthew E.; Institute for Christian Studies (2013-11-29)
    • A Particular Collision: Arendt, CERN, and Reformational Philosophy

      Johnson, Matthew E.; Institute for Christian Studies (2014-03-27)
      In this paper, I will explore how recent discoveries in particle physics that are part of the pursuit of a so-called “unified theory of everything” play into a worldview that has the potential to poison ethical life. I will explicate Hannah Arendt’s critique of modern science’s pursuit of knowledge by means of (what she calls) “acting into nature,” and I will place the groundbreaking experimental research at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Switzerland, as well as the theoretical search for a unified “theory of everything,” within the scope of Arendt’s critique. In order to maintain Arendt’s concept of unprecedented newness inherent in human action (or what she calls “natality”) as a response to a scientific reductionism that tends to accompany these claims and pursuits of theoretical physics and to expose what is at stake in Arendt’s critique, I will turn to the anti-reductionistic Reformational philosophy of Herman Dooyeweerd and D. H. Th. Vollenhoven, which offers a model that resonates with Arendt’s critique of modern science, while also allowing for a potentially viable way forward for considerations of the scope of scientific knowledge. Finally, I will conclude with the implications of this Reformational anti-reductionism on Arendt’s concern that human action, with its power to create new and unprecedented historical situations and natural processes, must be held accountable by reflection. What is learned from Arendt and the Reformational philosophers is that giving ground to the possibility of a unified theory of everything carries with it a determinism that disallows the recognition of both newness and irreducible complexity, both of which are essential to the ethical life.
    • Scholarship in the Information Age: An Interview with Isabella Guthrie-McNaughton

      Johnson, Matthew E.; Institute for Christian Studies (2013-10-25)
    • Sea to Sea: Cycling to End Poverty

      Johnson, Matthew E.; Institute for Christian Studies (2013-08-13)
    • Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Hermeneutic Circle

      Johnson, Matthew E.; Institute for Christian Studies (2013-10-09)
    • Songs of Solidarity: A New Approach to Liturgical Music and Community Cohesion

      Johnson, Matthew E.; Institute for Christian Studies (2014-03-06)
      In this paper, I will focus on a single type of music used in a religious setting, namely congregational song, which I will broadly refer to as “liturgical music.” Though liturgical music in the context of Christian community serves a variety of functions for community participants, this paper will focus on two major functions liturgical music plays in the way it facilitates community coherence: (1) it connects participants via embodied empathetic imagination to a particular defining narrative or mythology, and (2) it connects participants via co-performance directly to one another. I will suggest that liturgical art in religious community is actually a constitutive force in that community, having the capability of illuminating and affirming the communal identity shared by the participants. Participation in liturgical music is a way of actively shaping the community as a community, re-telling together a deeply held defining mythology in the context of the present world and creating a shared moment of co-performance in which participants enter into true face-to-face relationships with one another. Finally, I will illustrate how these functions may play out in a religious community through an analysis of Psalm 136’s content and use in ancient Israelite liturgy.
    • Trading Hell for Hope: An Interview with Nicholas Ansell

      Johnson, Matthew E.; Ansell, Nicholas; Institute for Christian Studies (2014-02)
      Nicholas Ansell’s teaching and research focus on several areas of systematic and biblical theology, notably Christology, eschatology, Old Testament wisdom thinking, and the theology of gender. He has an ongoing interest in the phenomenology of revelation and the spirituality of existence. His new book, The Annihilation of Hell: Universal Salvation and the Redemption of Time in the Eschatology of Jürgen Moltmann, was released in North America in October 2013 and exposits the work of Moltmann on the topic of hell and universalism for anyone who is interested in theology, scholar or otherwise. He has also written several articles on the topic including this one [http://theotherjournal.com/2009/04/20/hell-the-nemesis-of-hope/]in The Other Journal.