This sub-community includes ICS Masters and Doctoral Theses authored by our graduate students since 2011. Theses from this sub-community are harvested by Library and Archives Canada (LAC) into the Theses Canada Portal.

Earlier theses will be digitized and input into this sub-community when we have receive a signed LAC Non-Exclusive License from our graduates. If you are an ICS graduate and have not received a permission request from us, please contact us at

Students retain the copyright of their theses. Under the terms of the ICS Non-Exclusive Licence and the LAC Non-Exclusive Licence students grant ICS the right to preserve and disseminate theses via the ICS Institutional Repository, Library and Archives Canada and in other third party thesis databases.

Collections in this community

Recent Submissions

  • Incarnating the God Who May Be: Christology and Incarnational Humanism in Bonhoeffer and Kearney

    Kuipers, Ron; Novak, Mark Fraser; Institute for Christian Studies (Institute for Christian Studies, 2017)
    This thesis examines questions of humanity and divinity that are pressing in contemporary philosophy and theology as seen in the thought of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Richard Kearney. Both these thinkers seek to address issues around transcendence/immanence, sameness/difference, ontology/ethics, and post-metaphysical approaches to God. Chapter one explores the many convergences in their thinking with regards to these topics. Chapter two looks at the main divergence in their thinking: their respective Christologies. Chapter three, following up on the exploration of convergences and divergences in their thought, examines a possible way in which to mediate the difference in their otherwise similar patterns of thinking. The thesis aims, overall, to show that a Christologically-based incarnational humanism is a suitable and appropriate live option that is not only biblical, but also responds to issues in both contemporary philosophy and theology, providing a way to understand how the possibility of divine incarnation depends upon our ongoing human response.
  • "In the Embrace of Absolute Life": A Reading of Christology and Selfhood in Michel Henry's "Christian Trilogy"

    Ansell, Nicholas; Vanderleek, Ethan P.; Institute for Christian Studies (Institute for Christian Studies, 2016-04)
    Michel Henry (1922-2002) was a leading 20th century French philosopher in the school of phenomenology. The final three books of his career focus on explicitly Christian themes and texts, and these books are now known as his “Christian trilogy”. This essay focuses on this trilogy in an exposition of Henry’s Christology, his concept of the Self, and how Christology and selfhood relate to each other. The exposition of Henry’s thought on this issue is stated in the following thesis, broken into three sections: 1) God always reveals himself as Christ 2) who reveals the Truth of the Self, 3) this revelation being identical with salvation. Said again, 1) God’s Revelation is always God’s self-revelation in Christ, and is never separate from 2) the human condition of the Self as a Son of God, and this condition is never separate from 3) salvation. Revelation, selfhood, and salvation. This essay is largely expository but several constructive attempts are made to apply Henry’s philosophy of Christianity to key theological themes, namely atonement, pneumatology, and ecclesiology.
  • Unwrapping the Gift: Empty Notion or Valuable Concept?

    Sweetman, Robert; Polce, Jonathon Emil; Institute for Christian Studies (Institute for Christian Studies, 2016-05)
    The concept of the gift has received ample philosophical attention in recent decades. Thinkers such as Jacques Derrida and Jean-Luc Marion have been major contributors to the conversation philosophically. However, their conclusions around the gift -- while generating many fruitful notions -- leave the gift impoverished from our ordinary experience. Further, their reflections make it difficult to predicated giftedness of existence. This thesis argues for a need to rethink the gift along different lines which seeks to widen the gift in order to be able to predicate it of existence. In order to make such an argument, the ideas of Kenneth Schmitz on the gift are recovered. Schmitz argues for an understanding of giftedness that includes a notion of reciprocity and receptivity -- contra Marion and Derrida. It is this notion of receptivity that makes Schmitz' framework able to be predicated of existence. Existence, understood as gifted, opens up fruitful avenues for anthropology and ethics, as well as argues for a certain disposition towards reality that is centered in wonder and gratitude.
  • 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.
  • Relationship Issues: Forgiveness and Promising According to Hannah Arendt and Jacques Derrida

    Hoff, Shannon; Ratzlaff, Caleb; Institute for Christian Studies (Institute for Christian Studies, 2015-08-31)
    In retrospect this learning experience lead me to two conclusions. First, the way we hold someone responsible must reflect the openness and vulnerability of the actor and those to whom she relates. What we do when we hold someone responsible, administering a sentence, for example, must respond to the unending process of interaction and transformation that defines the human person in intersubjective life. This essentially describes the meaning and limits of holding someone responsible. The second lesson was more directly addressed in this thesis. It concerns the idea that the uncertain and vulnerable characteristics of the self that accompany our transformability, are not simply detriments to responsibility. Rather, the uncertain nature of a self as it exists in relationship with others is a condition of meaningfulness, responsibility, and love. As a condition of responsibility, our finitude calls for the sustaining ethical practices of promises and forgiveness. Uncertainty, even in its greatest manifestations as birth and death, is something we can embrace.
  • The Way of Love: Practicing an Irigarayan Ethic

    Olthuis, James H.; Merwe, W. L. van der; Halsema, J. M.; Crapo, Ruthanne SooHee Pierson; Institute for Christian Studies (Vrije Universiteit, 2016-02-17)
    This thesis defends the argument that Luce Irigaray's work on sexual difference from the Continental tradition provides a rich analysis of human subjectivity, ethical responsibility and well-being as citizens. This thesis pays specific attention to Irigaray’s work in relation to ecological feminism, animal welfare and religious pluralism in democratic societies. Her work is singular because, although it places the emphasis on sexual difference, resisting a contained definition of what it means to be a woman. Instead, the thesis highlights Irigaray’s ongoing process and ethical task to undertake an "intermediate" by which men and women can interact in reciprocity and respect the way of love. The limit, or the negative of the sexes,forms an ethical boundary, and this thesis explores this limit with humans and non-humans. The thesis contends that the limit makes it possible to establish the right relationships between specific and limited selves in an economy of love, rather than between authoritative, independent or absolute subjects in an economy of mutual exchange. Her philosophy, this thesis contends, allows us to ask more fully how to live well so we can share the resources—such as water, air, healthy food—that promote well-being and meaningful work. Such resources provide us physically and spiritually with a good life. The demand for a good life is further extended to other non-human animals and environments. The dissertation concludes with the suggestion that Irigaray's politics of difference can help democratic societies themselves to respond to questions of inclusion, hospitality and respect for different people, particularly within an increasingly multinational and global world. The thesis suggests that Irigaray's work is all the more relevant and meaningful in that it offers a discourse by which we can respect differences, going beyond token gestures, and moves toward substantial protection of all.Irigaray's ethics and politics provide both secular and fundamental principles that are universal and that can be found in the bodies of people who breathe properly and in the kind of practices that we undertake to distribute the resources of human and non-human others. Her work allows us to materially investigate in inventive and imaginative ways and calls us to share our world with love and responsibility.
  • Narrative companionship: philosophy, gender stereotypes, and young adult literature

    Zuidervaart, Lambert; Musschenga, A. W.; Van Dyk, Tricia Kay; Institute for Christian Studies (Institute for Christian Studies, 2016-03)
    This dissertation contends that North American culture is in the grip of a reductionism that neglects plurality while seeking after pseudo-universality and pseudoindividuality, exemplified by the apparently contradictory tendencies to take as normative what can be generalized and to deny universally applicable normativity. I pay special attention to gender stereotypes, in which the particular (individual) becomes irrelevant, ignored, or perceived as a threat unless it can be treated as part of the general (stereotype). I argue that philosophical fiction—and, in particular, young adult fiction— contributes to a principled plurality in both lived and academic philosophy. It does so through its imaginative power to enlarge perspectives, criticize from the margins, and galvanize readers to engage with injustice. I focus on young adult fiction because of its wide reach, relevance for ethical formation, and exceptional tendency to question stereotypical understandings of human existence. After explicating the distinction between lived and academic philosophy and situating my project in the larger conversation about fiction and philosophy, I argue for the ethical significance of philosophical interaction with story. In conversation with Martha C. Nussbaum and Hannah Arendt, I draw together three themes—the integrality of form and content, the ability of storytelling to act as critical thinking in context, and the key role of particularity in the context of plurality—in order to emphasize the need to approach fiction in its intrinsic plurality without losing the possibility of shared criteria. A causal model is insufficient in this regard. Drawing on Lambert Zuidervaart’s conception of imaginative disclosure, I show that art both suggests and requires interpretation and that fiction’s ethical contribution to philosophy needs to be understood as thoroughly hermeneutical. I settle on “narrative companionship,” a variation of Wayne C. Booth’s metaphor of stories as friends, as a helpful noncausal metaphor for interaction with fiction. Then I seek to demonstrate the fruitfulness of this metaphor, in contrast to academic philosophy’s traditional approaches to fiction as either a tool or an example, by commenting on several stories that have informed my own lived philosophy.
  • Sigmund Freud's Model of Transference: a Developmental History

    Olthuis, James H.; Van Wyk, Kenneth; Institute for Christian Studies (Institute for Christian Studies, 1987)
    I propose to examine the major statements by Freud on the topic of transference and counter-transference. This will not be exhaustive, rather the chosen statments will serve as foci for demonstrating major philosophical and anthropological changes which occur during Freud's development of psychoanalytic theory. [p.1]
  • The I's Relationship to the other as Transcendent, Foundational, and Ethical in Levinas' Totality and Infinity

    Hoff, Shannon; Hanna, Eric James John; Institute for Christian Studies (Institute for Christian Studies, 2013-07)
    An interpretation and application of the key insights about the I and the other from Emmanuel Levinas' book: Totality and Infinity. The first chapter interprets Levinas' terminology, specifically his notions of the I and the other, and shows how he describes human experience. The second chapter explores how the other is transcendent to the I as a site of ongoing possibility for the significance of experience, how the other founds the I during human development in the person of the caregiver, and how the I's basic relationship to the other has an ethical character. The third chapter applies these insights to show how they can lead to a more authentic living out of interpersonal relationships and to better ways of thinking about human living in social and political contexts.
  • 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)
  • Power and Mutuality in Modern Foreign Language Education: The Possibility of a Christian Orientation

    Olthuis, James H.; Smith, David Ian; Institute for Christian Studies (Institute for Christian Studies, 1997-09)
  • "Zus en Zo over Dit en Dat": an Essay on the Concept of Function in the Systematic Philosophy of Herman Dooyeweerd

    Hart, Hendrik; Wolters, Albert M.; Recker, Perry; Institute for Christian Studies (Institute for Christian Studies, 1977)
  • Metaphor, An Aesthetic Figure: An Analysis of Philip Wheelwright's Theory

    Seerveld, Calvin; Ophardt, Michael J.; Institute for Christian Studies (Institute for Christian Studies, 1983-05)
  • Liberal Progressivism and Public Policy: A Foundational Analysis of Unemployment Insurance in Canada

    Marshall, Paul A.; Hogeterp, Michael C.; Institute for Christian Studies (Institute for Christian Studies, 1995-10)
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Translation of the Implicit: Tracing How Language Works Beyond Gendlin and Derrida

    Zuidervaart, Lambert; Huisman, Jelle; Institute for Christian Studies (2012)
    This thesis discusses the explication of the implicit side of language, from the perspective of the self, the social, and the text, as situated in the wider context of thinking about language 'beyond post-modernism.' Language is first discussed as an intricacy, an intricate and changing complex of explicit signs and implicit elements and processes. It is shown that the implicit processes, such the speaking of being (Heidegger), focusing (Gendlin), and the interrelatedness of language and culture (Agar), are ruptured by processes like deconstruction (Derrida) and the semiotic breach of the symbolic (Kristeva). Explication brings a part of the implicit to the surface in the form of creativity (Deleuze) and critique, which is also discussed in the examples of play (Gadamer) and care. The transformations involved are illustrated in reflections on writing (Plato), poetry (Trakl), life as immigrant, and on translation as a philosophical practice.
  • Soliciting the Decisions of Philosophy: An Exposition of "Plato's Pharmacy" by Jacques Derrida

    Seerveld, Calvin; Adkins, Brent; Institute for Christian Studies (Institute for Christian Studies, 1994)
  • Independent Filmmaking: Projecting a Screen of Particularity With Integration

    Seerveld, Calvin; Macklin, Scott; Institute for Christian Studies (Institute for Christian Studies, 1995)
  • 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.

View more