Final Stop: Bethel College: “Human Rights and Moral Reasoning: Three Approaches” and “‘It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.’: Reflections on Graduate School”
Monday morning, I left Berne bright and early to head to Bethel College in Mishawaka, Indiana. I was a bit late, having hit some unexpected road construction.
Human Rights and Moral Reasoning: Three Approaches
I presented in two classes taught by Brother Tim Erdel in the morning. My presentation focused on three different ways that human rights can be understood and how each of these approaches influences our moral reasoning. The first approach argues that human rights are about the duties that the government has to its citizens. The second approach argues that human rights are limiting trumps, dictating what we cannot do to each other. The final approach argues that human rights are about seeing the dignity of other people as human persons and treating them in accord with that dignity. After presenting the three views and the way they influence our moral reasoning, the classes discussed which view is the best way to approach human rights. If we are arguing for a Kingdom ethic, the third approach is the ideal, but given that we live in a fallen world, the second is the way to universally approach human rights.
‘It was the best of times. It was the worst of times’: Reflections on Graduate School
I spoke at a luncheon for students interested in graduate school, talking about my experiences in applying (both times), working on a masters degree, and the present process of working on my PhD, completing the dissertation, and searching for job. While I did not shy away from discussing the negatives, I also talked about the good that has come about from this whole process.
Additionally, I was able to connect with different people throughout the day. During the chapel hour, I saw the ladies of the admissions office who were my supervisors when I worked there during college. After the luncheon, I had coffee with Matt Yoder, and also with Jim Stump, catching up with both of them, reminding me of the times spent at Bethel having discussions with both of them. Lisa and Eric Oglesbee had me over for dinner that evening, for a time full of reminiscing and shared experiences in working toward a PhD. Fittingly, on the way back to Berne, I had a wonderful conversation with another friend from Bethel, Michael From.
It was a time that was good for the soul, returning to the place and professors that played such an important role in shaping me into the person I am today. It is also the place I met my wife, and we both always fondly remember our time there.
The Return to Waco
Tuesday morning, I said farewell to my parents, after my mom loaded my suitcase with pumpkin cookies (and make up for Jess). I drove down to Indianapolis, where I was able to meet up with Nate Patterson for coffee and conversation at his place, getting to see his wife, Grace, and son, John, as well. It was a nice and fitting ending for the trip.
This trip served the purpose of reconnecting with people, presenting some of my ideas, and reminding me that the work I’m doing isn’t limited to my dissertation, isn’t limited to Baylor, and can be applicable for people who aren’t in the philosophical world. Seeing friends and family only reinforced those things.
A special thanks to Baylor’s philosophy department and graduate school for the generous funding to make this possible. An additional thanks to John White and Tim Erdel for organizing my opportunities to present at Cedarville and Bethel.