Reformational Philosophy

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In Memoriam: John Kok (1949-2020)


On the 5th of July 2020, John Kok passed away at the age of 71. He worked the largest part of his career at Dordt University in Sioux Center (Iowa, USA) as teacher of philosophy and also as Dean at various levels.


John Kok was actively involved in reformational philosophy, and represented the Association for Reformational Philosophy in the United States. In 1971, he came to The Netherlands to study philosophy at the Free University Amsterdam, where he obtained a PhD in 1992. During his time in Amsterdam, John Kok worked together with Hendrik van Riessen and Jacob Klapwijk.


John Kok was also active for the Vollenhoven Foundation, as member of the board. He did a lot of research to the early work of this founding father of reformational philosophy, and also translated parts of Vollenhoven’s work to English.


Click here to read a more extensive in memoriam on the website of the Institute for Christian Studies in Canada.

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In Memoriam: Elaine Botha (1938-2020)


On the 8th of July 2020, Elaine Botha passed away. She was also internationally very active for reformational philosophy. She studied philosophy at the Free University Amsterdam, advised by Hendrik van Riessen and André Troost. Between 1995 and 2004, she was respectively vice-president and director of the Dooyeweerd Centre at Redeemer University in Canada. She also taught philosophy at different universities.


Later in life, Elaine Botha married the Dutch economist Bob Goudzwaard, with whom she lived in South-Africa.


Click here to read a more extensive in memoriam on the website of the Institute for Christian Studies in Canada.

The information about the courses of our professors is only available on our Dutch website www.christelijkefilosofie.nl.


On Friday afternoon 29 November, the fifth Van Riessen Memorial Lecture will be organized. This year, Dr. David Lewin will give a lecture about:

Education, Enhancement and the Pursuit of the Good


The lecture by Dr. David Lewin will address education and technology as different ways to improve the human condition. While both are oriented to improvement, education tends to use conventional means to achieve this, while technological enhancements attempt to improve humans in less conventional ways.

The question is why we accept certain forms of enhancement which take time and effort (like learning to read in school), while feeling uneasy about other, often quicker and cheaper forms of technical enhancement, such as improving memory and concentration with so-called smart drugs? How might religious understandings of what it means to be human inform the considerations about this issue? Do religions offer criteria for distinguishing between acceptable and unacceptable forms of enhancement?


Speaker

Dr. David Lewin is Senior Lecturer in Philosophy of Education at Strathclyde University (United Kingdom). His research focuses on the intersections between philosophy of education, philosophy of religion and philosophy of technology. His books include among others Technology and the Philosophy of Religion (Cambridge Scholars 2011) and Educational Philosophy for a Post-secular Age (Routledge 2016). Currently, he is participating in a research project which aims to integrate technology into a view of human flourishing grounded in Christian anthropology.


Background

The Van Riessen Memorial Lecture is organized every two or three years at Delft University of Technology in memory of prof. dr. Hendrik Van Riessen. Van Riessen was the first professor Christian Philosophy at this university.


Programme

15.00   Welcome
15.30   Introduction (Prof. Dr. Marc de Vries)
15.45   Fifth Van Riessen Memorial Lecture by Dr. David Lewin
16.30   Questions and discussion led by Prof. Dr. Marc de Vries
17.00   Drinks
18.00   End


Location and registration

Delft University of Technology, Lorentzweg 1, building 22 (Faculty of Applied Sciences), room C117. This location is easily accessible by public transport and there is also sufficient parking space.

You can registrate by sending an email to info@christelijkefilosofie.nl. Please registrate before 15 November.

 

A Portuguese translation of the book Philosophy of Technology, written by Maarten Verkerk, Jan Hoogland, Jan van der Stoep and Marc de Vries, has just appeared. For more information and to order the book, please visit http://ultimato.com.br/sites/filosofia-da-tecnologia/.

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Paideia Press comes with a new paperback edition of Dooyeweerd’s ‘New Critique of Theoretical Thought’.

 

Paideia Press director Kerry Hollingworth says that his company is working on volume one of the NCTT. ‘The cover is basically finished and the text is complete’, he says. However,  he continues, ‘there is still a question about whether the text is compliant with the printing protocols but we are getting close. We will be producing the set in four volumes rather than in the two double volumes we brought out in 1984. We have not yet set the price for these volumes but we are hoping that they will be somewhere in the twelve to fifteen dollar range.’

 

Keep an eye on our website for more upcoming news about this new book. 

 

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Dooyeweerd in The Philippines

 
Romel Bagares reports (on Thinknet) from Manilla that Dooyeweerd is being taught on the national university of the Philippines:
Course
‘Since August, Dooyeweerd is being officially taught in the Philippine’s only national university, the University of the Philippines, by an alumna of the VU master’s, Liza Lansang. She’s here on research for her PhD, officially housed in her former faculty, the Department of Political Science. As part of her duties, she was asked to teach a new elective on Political Theories and Methods, and she developed a course which she labelled “Worldviews and Politics.” I gave a small guest lecture in her class yesterday on international law and international relations from a Dooyeweerdian perspective.
First Time
As far as I know, this is the very first time Dooyeweerd is being taught in the Philippines at university level — and at the country’s premier university at that (which has a long history of radical politics and hard-nosed secularism). But Liza will only be teaching this for one term as she has to continue her research for her PhD in the US next year.
I do teach as well, at  a law school, and every now and then, I had been injecting a Dooyeweerdian flavor in my class discussions since I started teaching international law in 2009, but not as extensively as one can hope to do.
Continuation 
Liza and I had been discussing how we can continue this course after she leaves. The Department is beefing up its theory section as it looks to marking its centenary next years.’
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 TUK

 

On Reformation Day 2014 (31 Oct) the Theological University Kampen is honoured to have dr. Wright present at a conference devoted to his work. Wright is best known for the academic series Christian Origins and the Question of God. This series is widely regarded as pioneering and influential in the study of the New Testament. In 2010 the fourth part of the series appeared: Paul and the Faithfulness of God. Wright teaches at St. Mary’s College, the Theological Faculty of St. Andrews. Previously, he was the bishop of Durham in the Church of England (2003-2010).

 

 

tom wright 2

 

 

Continue reading (in Dutch…)

To learn more about the conference click here (English).

On Education, Inspiration and Inwardness in Kierkegaard and Levinas

Renée D. N. van Riessen

In the history of philosophy, from Plato to Hegel, the identification of knowledge and recollection has always been very influential. The present article demonstrates how Kierkegaard, reacting to this idea of identification, develops a different epistemology. As a result, recollection and eternity make room for a focus on the human relation to temporality and finiteness. This new, Christian, thinking about time is the underlying motive of the comparison which Kierkegaard (in Philosophical Fragments and Concluding Unscientific Postscript) makes between the teaching mission of Socrates and Christ’s teaching. Considering a number of parallels between the Christian thinker Kierkegaard and the Jewish philosopher Levinas, the author further explores the implications of their thought on education and inwardness. Generally speaking, there is agreement about the idea that education should lead to the cultivation of humanity. Kierkegaard’s as well as Levinas’ thought demonstrate that a philosophical articulation of the dimension of inwardness cannot be neglected in this context. In addition to this, the question must be raised how inwardness relates to exteriority and eternity.

 

1. Introduction

Kierkegaard was right: the ultimate choice is the one between the Socratic recollection and the Christian repetition: Christianity enjoins us to REPEAT the founding gesture of the primordial choice. (Žižek 2001, 148-159)

“You don’t know what you know”: this was the title of a well-known grammar book (Van Dort-Slijper et al. 1976) at the time when I studied Dutch language and literature. But it could just as well be a slogan summarizing the teaching of Socrates, since the basic principle of his teaching, the hypothesis so astonishingly demonstrated by Socrates in Plato’s Meno, is that learning is a form of recollection. Central in this Platonic dialogue is the question whether virtue can be taught, and in line with this question the protagonists Socrates and Meno end up in a discussion about the question whether it is possible to learn what one does not know.

 

Read the whole article in our magazine Philosophia Reformata, 2013/1.

This article analyzes Kuyper’s theory of science in the light of his neo-Calvinist worldview. First we discuss his thesis that there is an inner connection between faith and science. Tensions become visible between a reformational and a scholastic line of thought (1-4). The next part deals with the humanities and theology. Kuyper turns out to have been influenced by the scholastic Logos theory, yet in theology he also defends the idea of a correlation between faith and revelation (5-7). The third part focuses on the self-organization of the sciences in the university. It shows how Kuyper’s doctrine of sphere sovereignty leads to “Free Universities” independent of church and state (8–10). The final part is a critical evaluation pointing up four challenges in Kuyper’s theory of science. They concern the mediating role of worldviews, the need for a transcendental hermeneutics, the concept of transformation in science and the importance of a correlative theology based on creation (11-15).

 

Whoever “speaks” of Kuyper speaks of Calvinism. And whoever speaks of Calvinism risks falling directly into error. In our day and age we are easily inclined to associate Calvinism with a certain type of church organization, church confession or theology. We think for instance of the Reformed- Presbyterian church order, of the Westminster Confession of Faith, or of the theological doctrine of predestination. For Abraham Kuyper (1837-1920) these were all a part of Calvinism, to be sure. Yet for him the scope of the label extended much further. He presented Calvinism as a comprehensive vision, even as a renewed shaping of Christianity derived from biblical revelation. And it was to his mind the sixteenth-century reformers, Calvin in particular, that put this global vision front and center.

 

Read the whole article in our magazine Philosophia Reformata 2013/1.

Unity is not an independent construct or end in itself. There is life-giving strength in coherence and unity. An organism that would die when all alone can live and thrive when part of a coherent whole or community. Parts that are unrecognizable when disconnected become distinct and identifiable when interconnected.

 

Read the whole article of Roger Henderson in our magazine Philosophia Reformata.