Ronald A. Kuipers
Director, Centre for Philosophy, Religion, and Social Ethics
Professor of Philosophy of Religion
Something Worth Considering...
"You can as it were restore an old style in a new language; perform it afresh so to speak in a manner that suits our times. In doing so you only reproduce....
What I mean is not however giving an old style a new trim. You don't take the old forms and fix them up to suit today's taste. No, you are really speaking, maybe unconsciously, the old language, but speaking it in a manner that belongs to the newer world, though not on that account necessarily one that is to its taste."
— Ludwig Wittgenstein, Culture and Value, 1947
About My Work
The Contemporary Relevance of Religion
What is faith today? What does it mean to be a Christian in a secular age? In today's world, the act of continuing to identify with an ancient religious tradition can seem outdated. Modern Western society demands that we answer the invidious question, 'Do you believe in God, or Science?' But what happens to religion and faith when we force them to fit within the frame of a scientistic culture, one in which all of reality is reduced to what may be discovered through the quantifiable methods of the physical sciences alone, while everything beyond that is understood as mere wishful human projection on an otherwise meaningless cosmos? In this picture, faith becomes readily understood as a form of intellectual assent to propositions whose scientific warrant is dubious at best. But must we accept this picture, this way of framing the situation? As a student of the reformational philosophical tradition, I have always resisted this understanding of religion and faith. The reformational tradition has taught me that Christianity, if it is anything at all, is a holistic pattern of living, and not simply a matter of intellectual believing. More than that, Christianity remains a live option for those living in a scientistic culture because it can still fuel our ability to imagine relevant alternatives for contemporary human existence than those our scientistic culture affords. My work in the philosophy of religion takes up Wittgenstein's challenge to speak an old language that yet belongs to a newer world. In so doing, I hope we may retrieve redemptive possibilities for our current existence, possibilities that our current culture has trouble envisioning.
Religion in the Public Sphere (Richard Rorty, Hannah Arendt, Political Theology)
Faith and Reason (Religion and the Enlightenment, Religion and Critical Theory, Religion and Pragmatism)
The Meaning of Religious Language (Ludwig Wittgenstein, Paul Ricoeur, Hermeneutics, Ordinary Language Philosophy)
Religion, Secularization, and Democracy (John Dewey, Charles Taylor, Jeffrey Stout, Jürgen Habermas)
Ronald A. Kuipers, PhD
Professor, Philosophy of Religion
Director, Centre for Philosophy Religion and Social Ethics
BA (The King’s University), MPhil (The Institute for Christian Studies), PhD (VU University, Amsterdam)
Ronald A. Kuipers specializes in the philosophy of religion, in conversation with the intellectual traditions of American pragmatism, critical theory, and hermeneutics. His research and teaching focus on the continuing social and political relevance of religious life patterns in pluralistic Western societies, and asks how this cultural context shapes the different ways that religion comes to expression today. He is the author of Critical Faith: Toward a Renewed Understanding of Religious Life and its Public Accountability (Rodopi, 2002), and, most recently, Richard Rorty (Bloomsbury, 2013), a volume in Bloomsbury's Contemporary American Thinkers series.
My Articles, Book Chapters, and Other Works
More of my projects can be found listed on the ICS Research Portal.
My Critical Faith podcast episodes can be found in the Critical Faith collection on the ICS Institutional Repository.
Courses and Syllabi
My current and recent courses and syllabi can be found here on the ICS Course Catalogue.
Theses Directed at ICS
Dean Christopher Dettloff, Christwreck: An Accidentology of Christianity, 2021
Benjamin Joseph Shank, Resounding Empathy: A Critical Exploration of Ricoeur's Theory of Discourse, to Clarify the Self's Reliance on Relationships with Other Persons, 2020
Joseph Morrill Kirby, Moral Ontology in the Age of Science: A Philosophical Case for the Mystery of Goodness, 2018
Daniel Mullin, Democracy without Secularism: A Pragmatist Critique of Habermas, 2012
Kiegan David Irish, No One is Superfluous: A Critical Retrieval of Hannah Arendt's Concept of Natality for 21st Century Politics, 2019
Mark Novak, Incarnating the God Who May Be: Christology and Incarnational Humanism in Bonhoeffer and Kearney, 2017
Godfrey Nkongolo, UJAMAA—A Gift from Tanzania to Africa: A Critique of Current Social and Political Systems in Africa and a Critical Exploration of UJAMAA as an Alternative, 2017
Timothy Skulstad-Brown, Retrieving Political Desire: Learning from Simon Critchley's Account of Political Motivation, 2017
Héctor Acero Ferrer, Liberating Tradition: An Exploration of Liberation Theology through the Lens of Paul Ricoeur's Hermeneutics, 2017
Matthew Johnson, Liberating Emergence: Human Dependence and Autonomy in Emergentism, Hermeneutics, and Pragmatism, 2014
Andrew Tebbutt, Action, Love, and the World: An Inquiry into the Political Relevance of Christian Charity (with constant reference to Hannah Arendt), 2013
Nathan Bonney, The Risk of Hospitality: Selfhood, Otherness, and Ethics in Deconstruction and Phenomenological Hermeneutics, 2012
Ryan Euverman, Pumping Intuitions and Making Practice Different: Richard Rorty's 'Intuitive' Account of Reference and Truth, 2010
Joseph Tang, Before or Outside the Text? A Comparative Study of Jean-Luc Marion and Paul Ricoeur's Idea of Revelation, 2010
Christopher J.M. D'Angelo, Written into the Land: Use, Identity, and the Human Awakening to an Eloquent Creation, 2009
Paul Hubble, A Certainty of Death: Appreciating Human Animalhood, 2009
Sara L. Gerritsma, From Paradox to Possibility: Gauging the Unique Contribution of Christian Voices to the Public Discussion of Ecological Crisis, 2008
Christopher R. Allers, Taking Hannah Arendt to Church: Toward a Renewed Appreciation of the Mutuality between Moral Philosophy and Religious Life and Culture" 2007.