Academic Roundtable Call for Papers

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Academic faculty, scholars, and graduate students are invited to apply for participation in the Academic Roundtable, part of the Faculty Forum element of the conference.

Faculty from diverse disciplines will share their papers with each other, offering insights and critical comments from their respective vantage points.

Call for Papers

It is the very nature of Modern science (17th century to the present) that it favors “reductionistic theories” of the natural order.  If a less complex “entity” can be asserted to explain a more complex one then “Ockham’s Razor” is considered satisfied and the less complex entity is understood to be a more fundamental and thus a more important feature of reality.  This leads physics to claim superiority over chemistry, and chemistry to claim superiority over biology, and biology to claim superiority over psychology, and so forth.  When this method is applied to human life and culture it produces various “monistic” systems of thought.  The assertion that “matter” is fundamental and irreducible produces “Naturalistic Materialism.”  The assertion that the bio-chemical patterns of DNA are fundamental and irreducible produces forms of biological determinism set within a closed causal network of neo-Darwinian evolution.  The assertion that “instinct” and/or “pleasure” (however it is defined) are fundamental and irreducible produces some form of utilitarian-consequentialism as the ultimate explanation of all human moral life and culture.

It is this pervasive factor of Modern culture that Lewis addresses in The Abolition of Man.  It is his thesis that this feature of contemporary life destroys the notion of the human, and, thus, destroys our historical and cross-cultural understanding of what makes humans beings human.  When this line of thought is applied to education and the moral life, Lewis argues, human notions of value and the nature of the “Good” are reduced to instinct, to the control of one group of people over other groups of people, and to the surrender of all that is human to non-human, non-relational, and non-purposeful Nature.

Thus, in The Abolition of Man, Lewis lays out one of the most prescient and persuasive critiques of Modernity written in the 20th Century.  It anticipates the resurgence of Virtue Ethics, the critiques of scientism, the rise of new non-reductive philosophes of science, and even the contemporary argument that reductive neo-Darwinian naturalistic materialism cannot make a case for either human reason or human self-consciousness.

The Academic Roundtable invites scholars in every field of enquiry to examine the assumptions of their area of study in light of this critique by Lewis.  Is a “new Natural Philosophy” possible that is not fundamentally reductionistic?  Can thinking informed by Christian principles avoid the logical fallacy of an “infinite regress?”  Can a case be made for an irreducible Objective Moral Order that reflects Reality?  Can approaches to education be found that encourage the formation of virtuous character that is capable of disciplining the passions and directing the reason toward human flourishing?  Can economic and political systems be reformed so that the effort to control large groups of people by small groups of ideologically driven persons are blunted or re-directed?  Is it possible to avoid “seeing through” and re-discover ways of “seeing” the reality of the garden?

Submission Information:  Please submit the follow items by October 31, 2018.

  • Title
  • 300 word abstract which states the main thesis of the paper
  • Full name, title, institutional connection, address, and email
  • Current CV

Each presentation is limited to 20 min. followed by a 10 min. Q & A period.  If you plan to read your paper, then it should be limited to 11 double-spaced pages of text.  If your paper is selected, then The Academic Roundtable will be your “breakout session” for the conference (taking place during the breakout session times during the event).

You will be expected to attend all sessions of the Roundtable and join in the cross-disciplinary conversation that will ensue as each paper is presented.  If you need technological assistance to present your paper then please let us know.

Submission decisions will be made by November 30, 2018.

Please send all submissions to:  selmore@cslewis.org.