The formation of character: spirituality seeking justice.

Blomberg, Douglas Gordon. “The Formation of Character: Spirituality Seeking Justice.” In Spirituality, Justice and Pedagogy, pp. 91-110. Eds. John Shortt Smith & John Sullivan. Nottingham, UK: The Stapleford Centre, 2006.

One’s perspective on humanness is a crucial determinant of one’s view of education. A Christian virtue ethics, honouring the creational, communal context in which the virtues develop, supports a conception of educational purposes as the getting of wisdom. Spirituality goes “all the way down,” to our fundamental choices concerning whom or what we will serve. Justice is a primary spiritual value; because full flourishing consists in persons standing in right relationships with God and all that God has made, the formation of virtuous character requires spirituality that seeks after justice.

Restoring Antigone to Ethical Life: Nature and Sexual Difference in Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit.

Hoff, Shannon. “Restoring Antigone to Ethical Life: Nature and Sexual Difference in Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit.” The Owl of Minerva, 38 (2006-2007): 77-99.

Hegel’s analysis of “ethical life” in the Phenomenology of Spirit shows that we do not emerge in the human world as fully functioning adult human beings, but are characterized fundamentally by our belonging to a particular community with a particular self-understanding, one that we can never completely leave behind. In this paper I discuss this phenomenon, but I show also that these communities and the selves they support can never be taken to be unchangeable. Societies and selves also make themselves, and any form of social organization has to acknowledge and take shape around this self-determining force.

Reconciling a Shattered Modernity: Habermas on the Enduring Relevance of the Judeo-Christian Ethical Tradition

Kuipers, Ronald A.. “Reconciling a Shattered Modernity: Habermas on the Enduring Relevance of the Judeo-Christian Ethical Tradition,” in Lieven Boeve, et. al., eds., Faith in the Enlightenment? The Critique of Enlightenment Revisited. Amsterdam: Editions Rodopi, 2006: 123-42.

J├╝rgen Habermas readily owns the evidence his work portrays of an ongoing engagement with explicitly Judeo-Christian theological themes and religious sources of meaning. This engagement, evident throughout most of his career, may at first come as a surprise to those who think of him primarily as a staunch defender of the Enlightenment’s confidence in the liberating power of rational argument, as well as the historical processes of secularization that have tended to flow from that confidence. What may seem even more surprising to those who think of him in this way is the fact that his engagement with religion is not only or even predominantly critical in nature (although it definitely includes strong elements of that). In contrast, this engagement often reveals a willingness on Habermas’ part to treat his religious interlocutors on an equal footing, as dialogue partners from whom he might have something to learn. Their attendance to religious sources of meaning, he thinks, has proven capable of providing unique insights from which secular children of the Enlightenment like himself can still derive benefit. In this essay, I explore the respect Habermas’ shows for the ethical impulse he finds beating within differing manifestations of the Judeo-Christian religious tradition.

Stout’s Democracy without Secularism: But is it a Tradition?

Kuipers, Ronald A.. “Stout’s Democracy without Secularism: But is it a Tradition?,” in Contemporary Pragmatism 3/1 (June 2006): 85-104.

This article critiques Jeffrey Stout’s suggestion in Democracy and Tradition that the practice of critical democratic questioning itself forms part of a historically unique secular tradition. While the practice of democratic questioning makes a valuable contribution to the project of fostering an “enlarged mentality” among the adherents of any particular tradition, Stout’s contention that this practice itself points to the existence of a substantive tradition, one that stands apart from and is not reliant upon the moral sources of the traditions it engages, remains problematic.