ARTICLES

J. Aultman-Moore - Self-Understanding and Self- Interpretation: Socrates and Charles Taylor on Situating the Human

Socrates and Charles Taylor reject reductionist frameworks for understanding the human
person. When explanations of human motivation are rendered into terms of mechanical
causality, questions of the good life for a human being are effectively banished. For Socrates
and especially Taylor, self-interpretation is an essential element of what it is to be human.
Self-interpretation accents the first-person perspective unique to human persons. The thirdperson
perspective of the physical sciences purports to furnish a superior vantage point on
human self-understanding for the social sciences, rendering experience a less informative,
even unnecessary, resource. Taylor’s “best account” counters 1) that discourse about meaning
and the good is an ineradicable part of human life, and 2) that no impersonal, neutral
standpoint could improve upon human experience as a resource for self-understanding.
Taylor extends his critique of the purported superiority of the impersonal standpoint for the
social sciences to the nature of practical reasoning. It is not the nature of practical reason, he
argues, to arbitrate between rival conceptions of the good life from some neutral perspective
but only from within the engaged stance of existential choice. Practical reasoning is, for
Taylor, a reasoning in transitions through incremental gains, not a judgment made from an
absolute vantage point. We reason that the transition from one way of thinking, feeling, and
living is an improvement upon an earlier, less adequate way of life. For Christians, God is
the supreme example of personhood and human beings, according to Genesis, are created
imago Dei. Taylor (following Socrates) invites us to be wary of reductive views of the human
person since they rob us of a language by which we could adequately understand ourselves
and diminish our dignity as persons made imago Dei. J. Aultman-Moore is a professor of
Philosophy at Waynesburg University.

 

Craig A. Boyd - The Thomistic Virtue of Hope in Tolkien’s Leaf by Niggle

Tolkien’s fictional characters often demonstrate the struggles most real people face in their
various activities and projects. His short story about a frustrated artist, Niggle, does this as
clearly as any of his works. Because of various interruptions and his own lack of discipline,
Niggle struggles against despair and sloth in his attempts to complete his magnum opus,
the painting of a Great Tree. It is only through the virtue of hope and the assistance of his
neighbor that he is able to accomplish this task. The account of the virtues and vices as offered
by Thomas Aquinas provides a helpful lens for understanding Niggle’s moral struggles and
it also shows how this work of Tolkien’s is decidedly Christian in its orientation. Craig A.
Boyd is Professor of Philosophy at Saint Louis University in St. Louis, Missouri.

 

Kevin Brown - Revisiting the Moral Limits of Markets: An “Open Take”

Thought leaders have long debated questions surrounding the normative boundaries of
market activity (or, as it is more often put, “What are the moral limits to markets?”). The
question has attracted an array of responses. Notably absent, however, is a distinctly
transcendent perspective. This is important, as the two primary arguments for the moral
limits of markets relate to inequality and corruption. Both of these positions are contestable
within a flattened, “closed-take” of reality—making the existing argument about the
market’s moral reach an interpretive exercise. By exploring an open take, a conception of
the transcendent consonant with the Judeo-Christian tradition, we may better substantiate
the intuition against unfettered market reach, grounding the legitimacy of market goods
relative to realizing human teleology and participation in the life of God. Kevin Brown is
an Associate Professor of Business at Asbury University.

 

REFLECTION

Jon C. Peterson - Faith and Learning in the Choral Rehearsal

In “Faith and Learning in the Choral Rehearsal,” Jon C. Peterson draws from his own educational
journey, scripture and existing scholarship to investigate faith-learning integration
for choral music faculty in Christian liberal arts institutions. This first-person essay discusses
the nature of music and musical training and offers examples of how Christian educators
can grow beyond the modeling many have experienced at secular institutions. In the end,
it is intended to serve as a catalyst for further research, introspection and discussion about
meaningful ways to approach work with choral ensembles from a distinctly Christian
perspective. Peterson serves as assistant professor of music, director of choral activities
and music recruiting coordinator at Malone University in Canton, Ohio. In addition to
his work with university ensembles, he teaches classes in music ministry, conducting and
choral music education. He also serves as director of the All-Ohio State Fair Youth Choir
and is in demand across Ohio as a guest conductor, clinician and lecturer. He earned his
D.M.A. in choral conducting with a minor in historical musicology from The University of
Arizona and his M.M. in choral conducting from Southern Methodist University’s Meadows
School of the Arts.

 

REVIEW AND RESPONSE

Dave Klanderman - On Christian Teaching—A Review Essay

Dave Klanderman is Professor of Mathematics and Statistics at Calvin College. Editors’ note: It
is CSR’s practice not to assign book reviews to an author’s institutional colleague, and readers
will note that Dave Klanderman and David I. Smith are both professors at Calvin College.
However, the current review was assigned and written when Klanderman was Professor
of Mathematics at Trinity Christian College, before he moved to Calvin College in fall 2018.

 

David I. Smith - A Response to Dave Klanderman

David I. Smith is Professor of Education and Director of the Kuyers Institute for Christian
Teaching and Learning at Calvin College.

 

 

EXTENDED REVIEW

William Boerman-Cornell - Why Comics?—An Extended Review

William Boerman-Cornell is a professor of education at Trinity Christian College and
co-author, with Jung Kim and Michael L. Manderino, of Graphic Novels in High School and
Middle School Classrooms: A Disciplinary Literacies Approach
(Rowman & Littlefield, 2017).