"Engaging with our peers as Christian thinkers"
11th September 2010 Conference
Abstracts of Papers
Title: Seeking laws of nature in community ecology
Author: Gunton, Richard
Abstract: Ecological theorising about the structure of communities of plants and animals has been marginalised in recent decades but may be on the brink of a revival. Despite the dominance of a Darwinian paradigm focusing on individual species as unique, proposed ecological laws unifying the diversity of living organisms via the interplay between evolution and thermodynamic constraints have attracted enthusiasm and shown some correspondence with observation. As a critical enthusiast, I am keen to explore the nature and validity of such laws of ecology that may help bring coherence to an unwieldy science and allow textbooks to be shorter. I believe that a Christian philosophy of science should help me understand this situation and may even guide my contribution to developing community ecology.
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Title: What might a Christian perspective on statistics be?
Author: Hutton, Jane
Abstract: How does statistics help or hinder Christians, who want to love God and their neighbours, and be a light in the world? Is it folly to try to quantify the worth of actions or people: Biblical censuses were not always approved by God? Or, following on from the simple observations of Proverbs, and Jesus' remark about being able to detect the signs of the times, do we have an obligation to try to achieve statistical literacy?
Title: Responding to the call? Towards an integration of theology, work and organization.
Author: Jenner, Shirley
Abstract: This discussion session is intended to create a space to reflect upon the scope for drawing upon theological concepts in analysing the way we think about organizations. This is in response to a call for Papers by the journal “Organization” ( deadline 30th October 2010). The Editors believe that “Theological concepts to a large extent define the limits and possibilities of thinking and theorizing about work and organization”. Here they draw on the ideas of political theologian Carl Schmitt. The editors also expressed an interest in “how the spiritual and its exclusion from the industrial organization is a defining character of modern work”. Interested parties are invited to draw upon theological concepts with a view to “enhance our understanding of organization a life”.
The session we consider some of issues involved in attempting to respond to this call and invite contribution from participants. I would begin to scope out the contours of a Christian theology of work. In doing so I would refer to the possibility that the exclusion of and separation from the deeper , theological meanings of work might explain the current modern malaise of alienation and disenchantment in society generally and to paid work in particular. This would allow reference to both orthodox and critical organization/management theory to be considered.
Title: Can Christianity be used as an underpinning philosophy and an academic integrity context for the teaching of a UK business school?
Author: Muskett , David
Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to explore how far Christianity may be relevant to a 21st century school of business from the perspective of both an underpinning philosophy and as an academic integrity guide. Here the writer declares a direct interest as a regular worshiping Christian in a Methodist church in Knutsford Cheshire. The issue of whether this specific perspective could be used more widely as a teaching philosophy, rather than being ‘ghettoised’ in the more focused and secular subject areas of Business Ethics or Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), where it currently may be given at least, an honourable mention by some, is what is being explored in this paper.
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Title: Social epidemiology- theory and philosophy
Author: Perlman, Francesca
Abstract: In this presentation, I give a brief outline of social epidemiology, the leading theories, and the philosophies that underpin them. I then discuss the importance as a Christian
Title: Christianity and Character Education
Author: Pike , Mark
Title: Epistemology, Story-telling and Pedagogy
Author: Roques, Mark West Yorkshire School of Christian Studies
Abstract: Summary of Epistemology, Story-telling and Pedagogy
In this short paper I tell a story about nomads who have impressive ‘knowledge’ of their camels. This knowledge is vital to the nomadic way of life. Positivist or objectivist epistemologies negate and destroy this nomadic kind of knowing by insisting that all knowledge must be explicit and completely specifiable. I then sketch Polanyi’s view of tacit knowledge and Dooyeweerd’s rich and multi-layered ontology. This allows us to develop a very different epistemology where we can make sense of nomads having ‘smell’ knowledge which allows them to know exactly where water can be found. In this view there are many different kinds of knowledge and they are all important as we go about caring for and managing God’s good creation. In conclusion I relate these insights to story-telling and pedagogy.
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