Answer the Question “What Is Christian Philosophy?” Photogallery

View PhotogalleryIn March, Trinity hosted the “What Is Christian Philosophy?” 2014 conference. The Society of Christian Philosophers and the Society for Continental Philosophy and Theology  joined the College’s philosophy department  for a weekend of fellowship and scholarship centered on Christian philosophy.

The three-day conference included a series of lectures delivered by Trinity professors and scholars from other institutions. Students, faculty, and alumni attended, and many had good things to say about the event.

“I was encouraged that the Christian community continues to raise up philosophers who can participate in the project of understanding our world from a Christian perspective,” said Dr. Michael DeVries ’74, professor of psychology. 

“I really liked the mix of graduate students and esteemed professor emerita of national reputation,” said Dr. Michael Vander Weele ’73, professor of English. “And I loved seeing my philosophy colleagues do such a good job organizing a major conference like this.”

Conference organizers and hosts Drs. Stephen Lake, Aron Reppmann ’92, and George Pierson, professors of philosophy, welcomed many of their former classmates, colleagues, and professors to the conference.

Speakers included Bruce Ellis Benson (Wheaton), Greg Clark (North Park), Kyla Ebels-Duggan (Northwestern), Adriaan Peperzak (Loyola), Alvin Plantinga (Notre Dame/Calvin), J. Aaron Simmons (Furman), Charles Taliaferro (St. Olaf), and Jay Wood (Wheaton).

Alvin Plantinga, John A. O’Brien professor of philosophy emeritus at the University of Notre Dame, presented “Augustinian Christian Philosophy.” 2014 marks the 30th anniversary of the publication of Alvin Plantinga’s “Advice to Christian Philosophers.”

Speaker Bruce Ellis Benson, Ph.D., of Wheaton College, discussed the significance of Christian philosophy and how best to articulate its practicality. His lecture showed how the art can be used as a means of spiritual training, and how it can address the topic of human suffering.

“Bruce Benson did a nice job, I thought, helping us understand how two different approaches to philosophy might understand each other better, and work together, in the philosophy of religion,” Vander Weele said.

The conference provided a place for scholars to share ideas, discuss their beliefs, and explore further the topic of Christian philosophy. It also connected current students with alumni and professors of potential graduate schools, building and nurturing relationships within the academic community.  

Finally, the event gave attendees a new perspective on philosophy, and inspiration for their own lines of work. “We hope that our colleagues from other departments on campus who attended will be able to draw on their participation for strengthening our interdisciplinary connections across campus,” Aron Reppmann ’92 said.