• 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.
    • "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.
    • Learning as Transcendence: The Solution to the Learner's Paradox in Plato and Merleau-Ponty

      Hoff, Shannon; Sheridan, Joanna; Institute for Christian Studies (Institute for Christian Studies, 2015-05)
      This thesis attempts to resolve the learner's paradox on the basis of Merleau-­Ponty's insights in the Phenomenology of Perception by showing that the paradox is misleading in at least two important ways: it presumes that our "knowing" relation to the world operates in the form of explicit knowledge, whereas really we mainly operate on the basis of a pre-­reflective familiarity with various things; and, it presumes that we are "in charge" of our learning, whereas really learning is part of the ongoing coupling of self and world. The first chapter offers a reading of Plato's Meno that argues that Plato implicitly offers a solution to the paradox that is compatible with Merleau-­Ponty's. The second chapter explicates Merleau-­Ponty's own version of the learner's paradox. The third chapter criticizes the learner's paradox from the Meno using Merleau-­Ponty's insights. The conclusion offers a few ideas on what shape teaching should take, given the foregoing account of learning, that are drawn from John Locke's "Some Thoughts Concerning Education."
    • On Spectation: Mikel Dufrenne's Valuation of Aesthetic Experience

      Seerveld, Calvin; Enneson, Peter; Institute for Christian Studies (Institute for Christian Studies, 1981-07)
    • The Risk of Hospitality: Selfhood, Otherness, and Ethics in Deconstruction and Phenomenological Hermeneutics

      Kuipers, Ronald A.; Bonney, Nathan D.; Institute for Christian Studies (Institute for Christian Studies, 2012-05)
      This thesis argues that attitudes of inhospitality operate subtly in our politics, in our religious beliefs and practices, and in our understandings of who we are. Consequently, the question of hospitality - what it is and what it signifies - is an urgent one for us to address. In this thesis I examine and outline the hermeneutics-deconstruction debate over the experience of otherness and what it means to respond to others ethically (or hospitably). In the first two chapters I defend the importance of properly understanding the ethics of both Emmanuel Levinas and Jacques Derrida. Against the concerns of Paul Ricoeur and Richard Kearney, I maintain that a Levinasian and Derridean insistence on answering to the call of an unconditional hospitality is the best way forward in our attempt to respond with justice to strangers. Next, by engaging Martin Hagglund's objection to an ethical reading of Derridean unconditionality, I give attention to the theme of negotiation in Derrida's later work, a theme which I take to be the central feature of his account of hospitality. I conclude by proposing five theses concerning hospitality. These theses provide an overview of the main themes discussed in this thesis and once more address the various tensions internal to the concept of hospitality.