ICS Calendar Title: IDS: Problem-Historical Approaches to Philosophy, Theology, Psychology and Art History

ICS Course Code: ICS-2400AC-W16

Instructor: Drs. Robert Sweetman, Nik Ansell, James Olthuis

Term and Year: Winter 2016, (Wednesdays, 9:30am-12:30 pm)

Last Updated: January 5, 2016. Note: This is not the final version.

1. Course Description

2. Reading Schedule

3. Course Learning Goals

4. Course Requirements and Description and Weighting of Elements to be Evaluated

5. Required Readings

6. Some Recommended Readings

1. Course Description

This course is designed to examine and appraise the critical practice manifest in the problem-historical tradition of reading texts in a variety of disciplines.  It will showcase the ability of that practice to bring to the surface deep spiritual intuitions and concerns at play in those texts.  It will explore thereby the ways in which the reading practice fosters at one and the same time both open learning from and knowing criticism of those same texts.

2. Reading Schedule

Introduction: Problem-Historical Reading and the Disciplines

Part One: Problem-Historical Reading and Theological Texts

Part Two: Problem-Historical Reading and Art Historiography.

Part Three: Problem-Historical Reading and Psychology

Part Four: Problem Historical Reading and Philosophical Historiography.

Part Five: Taking Stock of the Promise of Problem-Historical Reading

3. Course Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  1. identify those problem-historical foci that seem most pertinent to the texts they are interested in and write a defensible 4000-6000 word paper on the implications of decisions made by a thinker as to those foci.
  2. mark the presence of deep philosophical thematics within their own disciplinary terrain and use that marking to speak of the relationship between philosophy and their own discipline in a 20 minute lecture.
  3. take a position on the opportunities and limits of problem-historical reading and be able to speak intelligently about their position in a 5 minute interview for posting on social medium.

4. Course Requirements and Description and Weighting of Elements to be Evaluated

  1. Weekly reading (# of pages):  40 pages per week
  2. In-Seminar leadership:  2 seminar presentations of 1200-1800 words
  3. Description of course project: 4000-6000 word paper
  4. Exit interview for posting on social medium

Description and weighting of elements to be evaluated:

        i. Class participation: 20%

           ii. In-Seminar Leadership: 30%

          iii. Research Project/Paper: 50%

5. Required Readings

D.H.Th. Vollenhoven, The Problem-Historical Method and the History of Philosophy. Amsterdam: De Zaak Haes ; Published under the auspices of the D.H.Th. Vollenhoven Foundation, 2005. [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: B99 .D82 V655 2005]

James H. Olthuis and Arnold H. De Graaf, Models of Human Kind in Theology and Psychology. Toronto: Institute for Christian Studies, 1990, c1978. [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: Pamphlet]

Calvin Seerveld. “Towards a Cartographic Methodology for Art Historiography.” The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 39, no. 2 (1980): 143-154. [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: PER]

6. Some Recommended Readings

Egil Asprem, The Problem of Disenchantment: Scientific Rationalism and Esoteric Discourses (1900-1930). Leiden ; Boston : Brill, [2014]. [Robarts Library: BF1999 .A69 2014X].

(First chapter on Problemgeschichte and its recrudescence in contemporary historiography of philosophy in close association with Foucault and other postmodern theorists).

K.A. Bril, Vollenhoven’s Problem-Historical Method: Introduction and Explanation. Sioux Center, IA: Dordt College Press, 2005. [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: B4095 .V64 B75 2005]

K.A. Bril, Westerse Denkstructuren: Een probleemhistorisch onderzoek. Amsterdam: VU Uitgeverij, 1986. [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: B51.4 .B75 c.1]

Cekic, Miodrag. “Philosophie der Philosophiegeschichte von Hegel bis Hartmann.” Man and World 23, no. 1 (1990): 1-22. [UofT e-resource: http://go.utlib.ca/cat/7732600]

J. Glenn Friesen, “Monism, Dualism, Non-dualism: A Problem with Vollenhoven’s Problem-historical Method.” (2005). [http://www.members.shaw.ca/hermandooyeweerd/Method.html]

Matthias Kemper, “Der Problembegriff in der Philosophiegeschichtsschreibung,” in Eine Typologie der Formen der Begriffsgeschichte, edited by Riccardo Pozzo and Marco Sgarbi. Hamburg: F. Meiner, 2010, pages 15-42. (UofT Downsview: B 105 .I28 T97 2010)

John Kok, Patterns of the Western Mind: A Reformed Christian Perspective. Sioux Center, Iowa: Dordt College Press, 1998. [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: B51.4 .K65 1998]

Otto Gerhard Oexle, Das Problem der Problemgeschichte, 1880-1932. Göttingen : Wallstein Verlag, 2001. [UofT Downsview: D16 .P74 2001]

Riccardo Pozzo and Marco Sgarbi, Begriffs--, Ideen--, und Problemgeschichte im 21 Jahrhundert. Wiesbaden : Harrassowitz Verlag, in Kommission, 2011. [UofT Downsview: B54 .B447 2011]

H. Evan Runner, Syllabus for Philosophy 220 : The History of Ancient Philosophy. Grand Rapids, Mich. Calvin College, 1958-1959. (includes translation of a large portion of Vollenhoven’s Historia Philosophiae Vol. I) [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: B171 .R8]

Marco Sgarbi, “Umriss der Theorie der Problemgeschichte,” in Eine Typologie der Formen der Begriffsgeschichte, edited by Riccardo Pozzo and Marco Sgarbi. Hamburg: F. Meiner, 2010, pages 185-198. (UofT Downsview: B 105 .I28 T97 2010)

Calvin S Seerveld, “Biblical Wisdom Underneath Vollenhoven’s Categories for Philosophical Historiography.” Philosophia Reformata 38 (1973): 127-143. [ICS Library: PER ; UofT Libraries e-resource: http://go.utlib.ca/cat/10084356]

Calvin S. Seerveld, “The Pedagogical Strength of a Christian Methodology in Philosophical Historiography,” Koers 40, no. 4-6 (1975): 269-313. [ICS Library: PER)

Robert Sweetman. In the Phrygian Mode: Neo-Calvinism, Antiquity and the Lamentations of Reformed Philosophy. Lanham, Md.: Institute for Christian Studies and University Press of America, 2007. [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: B4041 .I57 2007]

Robert Sweetman, “Reading Ancient and Medieval Philosophers After Vollenhoven.” [Unpublished paper]. [ICS Library Reserve Shelf]

Tony Tol, “Vollenhoven’s probleemhistorische methode tegen de actergrond van zijn systematisch denken,” Philosophia Reformata 58 (1993): 2-27. [ICS Library: PER; UofT Libraries e-resource: http://go.utlib.ca/cat/10084356]

B.J. van der Walt, “The Philosophy of D.H.Th. Vollenhoven (1892-1978) with Special Reference to his Historiography of Philosophy,” Tydskrif vir Christelike Wetenskap/Journal for Christian Scholarship 42 (2006): 35-59.

Nicholae von Hartmann, “Zur Methode der Problemgeschichte” (1909) in Kleinere Schriften; Bd.3: Vom Neukantianismus zur Ontologie, Berlin 1958, S. 1-22. [Robarts Library: B3279 .H21 1955 bd.3]

Wilhelm Windelband, Die geschichte der neueren philosophie in ihrem zusammenhange mit der allgemeinen kultur und den besonderen wissenschaften. Leipzig: Breitkopf & Hartel, 1922. [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: B82 .W53 1922 Bd.1-2]

Albert M. Wolters, “On Vollenhoven’s Problem-Historical Method,” in Hearing and Doing: Philosophical Essays to H. Evan Runner. Toronto: Wedge Publishing Foundation, 1979. [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: B29 .H363]

Other Resources

All of Life Redeemed Website [www.allofliferedeemed.co.uk]

Students with diverse learning styles and needs are welcome in this course. In particular, if you have a disability/health consideration that may require accommodations, please feel free to approach me and/or Student Services as soon as possible.


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