Truth Matters Interdisciplinary Conference

View videos from the conference at: Ustream

Also see the book: Truth Matters: Knowledge, Politics, Ethics, Religion

From the original conference website:

We live in an age of skepticism about the idea of truth. Contemporary skeptics question the nature and value of truth and the concomitant virtue of truthfulness. Skepticism about truth is not restricted to popular culture. It occurs within the academic world, where deflationists have argued that the idea of truth is not a substantive notion and some poststructuralists have portrayed it as primarily the scene of struggles for power. Such skepticism is surprising, for truth and truthfulness have been central to Western civilization and the academic enterprise.

Given both contemporary skepticism and the centrality of truth, we believe it is time to reconceptualize truth and to reclaim truthfulness for the academic enterprise. The conference organizers have undertaken an interdisciplinary philosophical effort to develop a new model of truth. Now we wish to expand the scope of our work by engaging with discussion partners from other schools and from across the disciplines. The Truth Matters conference will be an occasion for international dialogue and debate.

Truth Matters continues a series of conferences on issues of faith and scholarship organized by four schools in the Reformed tradition. It is hosted by the Institute for Christian Studies, a graduate school for interdisciplinary philosophy in Toronto, and co-sponsored by Calvin College (Grand Rapids, MI), Dordt College (Sioux Center, IA), and the Free University (Amsterdam).

This conference is supported by a generous grant from the Priscilla and Stanford Reid Trust.

Law, Love, and Life: Forgiveness and the Transformation of Politics

Hoff, Shannon. “Law, Love, and Life: Forgiveness and the Transformation of Politics.” Philosophy Today, SPEP Supplement, 54 (2010): 163-168.

In an early essay by Hegel, “The Spirit of Christianity and Its Fate,” we find both a concise critique of law and an introduction of the significance of both human relations of love and the power of forgiveness. While the essay is critical of the idea of making law the basis of political and moral life and reasoning, Hegel’s introduction of the significance of both forgiveness and affective relations in fact requires not a simple abandonment of law but its re-configuration or re-conceptualization—that is, the situating of law as a single element in a more complex conception of political and moral justice. What remains after Hegel’s critique of law in this early essay is not the privileging of forgiveness and affective relations over law but the identification of a constitutive tension between these three phenomena, all of which are essential to justice.`

Amor Mundi in a (Post)Liberal Era: The Relevance of an Arendtian Theme for Christian Self‐Understanding Today

Kuipers, Ronald A.. “Amor Mundi in a (Post)Liberal Era: The Relevance of an Arendtian Theme for Christian SelfUnderstanding Today,” in Jerald D. Gort, et. al., eds., Crossroad Discourses Between Christianity and Culture. Amsterdam: Editions Rodopi, 2010: 85-106.

Privatization, the liberal political strategy for handling religious differences, has been criticized for hegemonically privileging a secularist worldview and for refusing to provide full public scope to the plurality of religious traditions that exist in contemporary democratic societies. For these and other reasons, it is important to explore alternatives to privatization that do not thereby neglect the importance of maintaining citizen solidarity in these societies. This essay explores the potential that amor mundi, a fundamental theme of Hannah Arendt’s political philosophy, has for addressing this vexing issue. In doing so, it also asks whether Arendt’s thematization of the human position between past and future, amidst the demise of tradition, holds any lessons for contemporary Christians. What would it mean for today’s Christian to love a world that has, for both good and ill, become what it is, from out of a past that remains to be discovered, in its full plurality and natal potentiality? Can Christian faith, at the end of the day, do without amor mundi?

Dog-Kissed Tears: Songs of Friendship, Loss, and Healing

Dog-Kissed Tears: Songs of Friendship, Loss, and Healing. Lambert Zuidervaart. Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, Resource Publications, 2010.

Find it on: Amazon

“It is 4:00 a.m. the day after Rosa died. I am wide-awake from a brief and troubled sleep.”

Many people form deep attachments to their pets. Yet we wonder how to celebrate our friendships with them and how to grieve their death. Dog-Kissed Tears is a meditative memoir woven from life with Rosa. In stories that are funny, sad, moving, and honest, Lambert Zuidervaart links his attachment to his beloved dog and his love for human friends. Familiar songs help him trace his personal journey through the adoption, life, and death of a canine companion. As Lambert works through grief and longing for Rosa, he connects memories of childhood with self-discoveries in middle age. Dog-Kissed Tears weaves a lyrical narrative of friendship, loss, and healing. Its spiritual undercurrent is subtle but profound.

Religion in Public: Passages from Hegel’s Philosophy of Right.

Zuidervaart, Lambert. “Religion in Public: Passages from Hegel’s Philosophy of Right.” University of Toronto Journal for Jewish Thought, 1 (April 2010).

Read it in the ICS Institutional Repository:

Do religious communities have important contributions to make in public debates about politics, economics, and social policy? Or, as Richard Rorty once argued, does religion serve primarily as a public “conversation-stopper”? This essay provides a normative account of religion, the state, and their relationship: religion should have both critical and utopian roles toward the state, I argue, and it should both support and disturb civil society. Religious truth, properly understood, is not at odds with democratic communication; religion need not be a “conversation-stopper.”