Knibbe, Stefan (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.
Sheridan, Joanna (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."
Ratzlaff, Caleb (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.
Dettloff, Dean (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.
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