JIS XXVI 2014
THE NEXT 25 YEARS
JIS XXVI 2014: 1-28
THE PROMISE OF INTERDISCIPLINARY STUDIES:
RE – IMAGINING THE UNIVERSITY
Institute for Interdisciplinary Research
The thesis of this essay is that interdisciplinary studies hold special promise in achieving new scientific-technological breakthroughs and mapping more effective socio-economic, political, and cultural modes of interaction enhancing human flourishing. Universities are crucial to this endeavor in their multiple roles of teaching, learning, research, and service, educating youth and adults for meaningful careers, life, and participatory citizenship in a democracy. Higher education is, thus, a major transmission belt for culture. In the Third Millennium, interdisciplinary approaches to learning suggest new methodologies that seek dialogue and integration of research findings across the disciplines to overcome the compartmentalization of knowledge which hinders new discoveries in the natural sciences and “connecting-the-dots” in the social and behavioral sciences, while humanities are key to understanding the emotional, mental, and spiritual aspects of human beings. Redeeming the culture and educating the Selfie generation require the integrated knowledge and insights of all disciplines.
JIS XXVI 2014: 29-56
INTERDISCIPLINARY FAITH – LEARNING INTEGRATION
FOR SOCIAL CHANGE
David C. Ward
Oxford Graduate School
Interdisciplinary studies has grown significantly in the last 25 years. The reductionisms of secular modernism and postmodern relativism present an opportunity for an approach to interdisciplinary faith-learning integration that provides a unifying basis for research addressing major challenges. An approach developed at Oxford Graduate School offers promise for interdisciplinary studies comprehensive enough to bridge the three cultures of the natural, social, and humane sciences in the service of bettering the world. The Learning . . . to Change the World methodology proceeds through seven stages: problem clarification, literature review, faith-learning integration, interdisciplinary research, contextualization, ethical/social leadership, and lifelong learning evaluation. Grounded in a Creation-Fall-Redemption-Consummation metaphysical worldview, it assumes a critical realist epistemology to engage real-world challenges. The process accommodates multiple research methods and aims for a redemptive-ethical transformation of social problems.
JIS XXVI 2014: 57-72
FOR A BETTER WORLD?:
RESPONSE TO DAVID C. WARD
William D. Dennison
Interdisciplinary studies is presently dominated by addressing socio-cultural questions and problems in the hope that the results of its research will generate a better world. As a collective group of experts addresses these issues, the specialists will perform investigative research that will prescribe a hopeful resolution to enhance the quality of existence. The Biblical text reveals, however, that humans have a fallen nature and that the creation has an eschatological end. In this context, the Christian interdisciplinarian has the burdensome challenge to bring temporal relief for those socio-cultural problems within the telos of Biblical revelation. The Christian’s method towards interdisciplinary resolution needs to be assisted by critical thinking in a number of areas: the relationship between interdisciplinarity and interdisciplinary, the relevance of the classic nature-grace dualism, the hermeneutical method employed in interpreting data, and the boundaries of eclectic tolerance to advance the interdisciplinary goal.
JIS XXVI 2014: 73-94
RELIGIOUS EDUCATION AND CHARACTER FORMATION:
AN INDONESIAN CONTEXT
Widya Mandala Catholic University, Indonesia
The Second Vatican Council cautioned regarding the increasing secularization of Western societies that the greatest error of our age is the separation between faith and life. Through its history of the kingdoms of Buddhism and Hinduism, 350 years of Western colonization and growth of Islam, Indonesia claims to place religion in high regard. Citizens are obligated to proclaim one of the six recognized religions. All schools allocate four hours of religious teaching weekly. Critics doubt that the teaching of religion in schools will help solve problems. Corruption is rampant and ethnic-religious conflicts are increasing despite the people’s claim as a religious nation. The challenge, then, is to integrate religious and character education into the core as well as hidden curriculum and teach students to nurture their faith and moral sense throughout their schooling. This essay explores how religious and character education in the school curriculum endeavors to prepare young people to enhance their intellectual capabilities and form them to be people of faith and character.
JIS XXVI 2014: 95-114
THE FAMILY, RELIGIOUS COMMITMENT
AND ECONOMIC PROSPERITY
William H. Jeynes
California State University-Long Beach
This essay addresses the evidence that suggests that both the widespread presence of the two-parent biological family and Christianity are highly related to economic prosperity. The thesis draws from a variety of research studies and statistics that combined indicate their connectedness, and offers reasons why strong families and faith may ameliorate economic growth. A growing number of economists have become too insular in their approach to this growth that calls for a more interdisciplinary approach to examining the forces behind healthy economic expansion. Such an interdisciplinary approach should include a variety of factors–institutions, demographics, natural resources, family dynamics, the role of faith and personal lifestyle, and other forces. A relevant case study highlights the connection between Christianity and modernization in South Korea. The essay concludes by examining some of the ways that faith and family factors can be taken more seriously by economists and public policy makers.
JIS XXVI 2014: 115-134
THEOLOGY AND ECONOMICS:
A MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN?
Jordan J. Ballor
In contrast to theologians who think economics has little or nothing to teach us, and economists who balk at the strictures a normative discipline like theology might seek to impose, this essay explores the prospects for interdisciplinary research between theology and economics over the next quarter century and beyond. Theology needs economics because piety is no substitute for technique, according to Etienne Gilson. Economics needs theology because man does not live on GDP per capita alone. And, theology and economics find their reconciliation in the mediating and normative discipline of ethics, which shows why the question of virtue ethics and the marketplace is a particularly promising area of future research on the connections between theology, economics, and ethics.
JIS XXVI 2014: 135-146
ENRIQUE DUSSEL AND LIBERATION THEOLOGY:
VIOLENCE OR DIALOGUE?
Miguel Ángel Quintana-Paz
Universidad Europea Miguel de Cervantes, Spain
For centuries, various disciplines have tried to tackle the topic of how legitimate it is to use violence in order to solve social problems. One of the most recent interdisciplinary approaches, most successful in present-day Latin America, is the so-called “Ethics of Liberation,” designed by Enrique Dussel. Based on the Theology of Liberation, this theory goes beyond the limits of theology as a discipline and pleads for three ethical criteria that every political revolution must fulfill to use violence in a legitimate way. The first is a formal criterion, which basically takes after the ideal dialogue situation endorsed by Karl-Otto Apel and Jürgen Habermas, and purports to be rooted in yet another discipline, linguistics. The second is a material criterion, defined as the upshot of an acceptable welfare for all citizens, thus intimately linked with the discipline of economics and political philosophy. The third is a criterion of feasibility, which makes a revolt legitimate if, and only if, it has a reasonable possibility of succeeding; hence strategic issues take a leading role. This essay contends that each of these criteria is conceptually incompatible with violence. Hence, Dussel’s arguments involve multiple contradictions as he aims to justify the use of violence precisely with these interdisciplinary criteria.
JIS XXVI 2014: 147-166
THE EMERGENCE OF THE SELF:
ROLE – TAKING AND INSIGHT
Thomas J. Scheff
University of California-Santa Barbara
The need for integration may be the single most important issue facing social science, the humanities and their sub-disciplines, especially given the scope of the social/behavioral problems facing humanity. One path toward integrating disciplines, sub-disciplines, and micro-macro levels is suggested by Spinoza’s idea of part/whole methodology, moving rapidly back and forth between concrete instances and general ideas. Any discipline, sub-discipline or level can serve as a valuable stepping-off place, but to advance further, integration with at least one other viewpoint may be necessary. This essay links three hitherto separate subjects: role-taking, meditation, and a theory of emotion. The idea of role-taking plays a central part in sociological social psychology. Meditation implies the same process in terms of a self able to witness the ego. Drama theories also depend upon a witnessing self that establishes a safe zone for resolving intense emotions. All three approaches imply that the everyday ego is largely automated. In one of her novels, Virginia Woolf suggests three crucial points about automated thought: incredible speed, how it involves role-taking, and by implication, the presence of a witnessing self.
JIS XXVI 2014: 167-183
HUMAN SELF- TRANSCENDENCE:
POSTHUMAN, POSTMODERN OR POSTSECULAR?
Paul C. Maxwell
Center for Bioethics & Human Dignity
Humanity’s End: Why We Should Reject Radical Enhancement. By Nicholas Agar. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2012. 219 p. Cloth. $32.
Postmodern Apologetics? Arguments for God in Contemporary Philosophy. By Christina M. Gschwandtner. New York: Fordham University Press, 2013. 352 p. Paper. $90.
God as Reason: Essays in Philosophical Theology. By Vittorio Hősle. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2013. 416 p. Paper. $48.