Conference presentations, publications and research by our graduate students.

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  • A Theology of Grace in Six Controversies, by Edward T. Oakes, S. J., Eerdmans

    Vanderleek, Ethan; Institute for Christian Studies; Regent College (2017-07)
  • Re-Imagining the Whore: An Intertextual and Intratextual Feminist Reading of Revelation's Woma/en.

    Bott, Ruth; Institute for Christian Studies; Ansell, Nicholas (2015-05-31)
  • Navigating the Crisis of Movement: Rupture, Repetition, and New Life

    Dettloff, Dean; Institute for Christian Studies (The Other Journal, 2015-10-08)
  • On the Varieties of Religious Rationality: Plato (and the Buddha) Versus the New Atheists

    Kirby, Joseph Morrill; Institute for Christian Studies (Cosmos Publishing Cooperative, 2015)
    Holocaust survivor Victor Frankl claims that human beings are spiritually and mentally free, and that it is possible to maintain one's dignity even in a concentration camp. If this tremendous claim is true, it is true regardless of who says it. However, it is only when the claim is made by someone like Frankl that it functions rhetorically, actually prompting the listener to reflect on what it might mean. In the Georgias, Socrates argues for an even more extreme version of this same idea: that it would be better to be tortured to death than to torture someone else, because it is impossible for a torturer to be happy. This paper shows why, if what Frankl and Socrates say is true, both tradition and myth are perfectly rational modes of discourse, and why a culture that rejects the capacity of tradition and myth to disclose truth will almost inevitably reject these claims as irrational. This discussion is framed in terms of an interesting disjunct in the meaning of the term "atheist," as it is used by the New Atheists and as it is used by Plato, and is set in dialogue with the claims of as Vipassana meditation teacher S. N. Goenka, whose teachings bear remarkable similarity to Plato's.
  • Believing For Me: Žižek, Interpassivity, and Christian Experience

    Mackie, Carolyn J.; Institute for Christian Studies (2013-05-02)
  • This Thinking Individual: Conscience and Subjectivity in Søren Kierkegaard and Hannah Arendt

    Mackie, Carolyn J.; Institute for Christian Studies (2013-01-19)
  • Impeccability Amid the Principalities: Christ's Sinlessness in a Culture of Sinful Systems

    Van't Land, Andrew; Institute for Christian Studies (2013-10-19)
  • The Spiritual Meaning of Technological Evolution to Life

    Kirby, Joseph Morrill; Institute for Christian Studies (Cosmos Publishing Cooperative, 2013)
    There are two senses by which technology can be seen as a new layer of living complexity: first, while biological systems can only appropriate 24 of the 91 natural elements into their metabolic processes, technological systems can imbue complex form into all 91 elements; second, this added capacity gives life the potential to expand across its current limit – the atmosphere of the Earth – in the same way as it expanded from the oceans to the land some five hundred million years ago. This essay explores what such an understanding of life and technology might mean to us, humanity, in the context of our current ecological and social catastrophe.
  • Meditations on Life, Death, and Technology in the Style of a Japanese Poet

    Kirby, Joseph; Institute for Christian Studies (Stony Brook University, 2012-03)
    In this paper, I will attempt to resurrect the essence of this poetry in the form of a philosophic essay, in response to the riddle “Still Life?”, already initiated with a brief reflection on the history of Japanese renga, carried forward through a series of reflections on the relationship between language and the world, language and death, and concluded with a surprising hypothesis on the relationship between language and life, written in the context of the ecological disaster threatening humanity with extinction.
  • Cosmogenetic Labour in the Crisis of the Anthropocene

    Kirby, Joseph; Institute for Christian Studies (2013-02-14)
    As the insights from anthropology slowly filter into philosophy, it is becoming clear that technology should not be thought of as a contingent product of the European Enlightenment; instead, in the words of archaeologist Timothy Taylor, “technology, within the framework of some 2 to 3 million years, has, physically and mentally, made us.”1 Our huge brains, our dexterous hands, our upright stance, our ability to speak – these distinct characteristics of our biology could only evolve in the context of a new kind of development, a complexifying matrix of techniques and artifacts. Taylor calls us “a new, symbiont form of life,” with the technology that we project around ourselves forming “the nonbiological aspect of the artificial ape.”2 I argue that this insight calls for a massive change in perspective. In short, we need to understand life as an explosion. Growing out of geothermal vents into the oceans, out of the oceans onto the land, this explosion is now constrained by the barrier of the atmosphere, beyond which lies the void of space. The only way the living explosion will ever be able to transcend this barrier is through the kind of symbiosis between technology and biology described by Taylor. With reference to the long neglected ecological thought of Krafft Ehricke, I argue that the ecological crisis should not be seen as the death-throws of nature, but rather as the birth-pangs of a new mode of life, the crisis whereby the biosphere expands beyond the geosphere, to infuse extraterrestrial fields of matter with the beauty of living form. As the progenitors of technology, this cosmogenetic labour is one of the duties of humanity with regard to the living process that birthed us. 1 Timothy Taylor, The Artificial Ape (), 198. 2 Taylor, The Artificial Ape, 194.
  • The Quest for Pleasure and the Death of Life

    Kirby, Joseph Morrill; Institute for Christian Studies (Cosmos Publishing Cooperative, 2011)
    In this paper, I present a parallel between Schopenhauer, who argues that a purely rational being would see life as meaningless suffering and therefore refuse to inflict existence on a new generation of humans, and economist Lester Thurow, who argues that it is irrational to care about what happens to the world after one's own death, even if this means the extinction of the human species. I show first how these attitudes stem from an orientation that judges life in terms of pleasure and pain. Then, with reference to an article by Amien Kacou, I seek to refute this orientation, showing how a conscious being that actually saw pleasure as its highest good would likely become miserable - or, conversely, that the only way for such a being to actually experience pleasure would be for it to see justice as more important than its own individual satisfaction. I conclude with some reflections on what this means in terms of Nietzsche's statement "God is dead," and what ramifications it has on the current ecological crisis.

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