Epistemology

PSYC 420

Essay Topics

Essay 1 – Module/Week 2:

Topic: Epistemology Define epistemology and describe the 3 models of how certain we are that our perceptions mirror reality. Which position do you hold, and why? What are the different methods of knowing (see Entwistle chapter 5)? What are the limitations of these (or any) methods of knowing? What methods of knowing are appropriate for Christians, and why?

Essay 2 – Module/Week 3:

Topic: Philosophical Anthropology Define philosophical anthropology and compare the psychological and theological understandings of philosophical anthropology. Identify several distinct contributions offered by psychology that are absent (not offered in detail) from Christian theology. Identify several distinct contributions offered by Christian theology that are absent (or not offered in detail) from psychology. Are psychological and theological perspectives on philosophical anthropology ultimately opposed to and irreconcilable with each other, or can they be reconciled? Defend your answer.

Essay 3 – Module/Week 4:

Topic: Enemies and Spies

Choose 1 of the 2 prompts below on which to comment.

1. Entwistle asserts: “those with whom we disagree often have things to teach us… [we must] ask ourselves what is to be learned and appreciated” from those with whom we disagree. Identify at least 3 things that you appreciate/can learn from those who hold the secular combatants’ or Christian combatants’ versions of the Enemies model.

2. After reading chapter 9 and watching the Antagonism video, what concerns, if any, do you have about the influence of secular assumptions on the field of psychology? What concerns, if any, do you have about the claims and counsel of the nouthetic counseling movement?

Essay 4 – Module/ Week 5:

Topic: Colonialism and Neutral Parties

Choose 1 of the 2 prompts below on which to comment.

1. The Colonialist model ostensibly recognizes the value of psychology, but it does not typically result in deep engagement with the findings or methods of psychology. How might this be applied to a topic such as eating disorders or depression? What would be some of the advantages and disadvantages of this approach?

2. Entwistle distinguishes between scriptural authority and theological interpretation. Do you agree? Why might this distinction be important? Support your view with an example.

Essay 5 Module/Week 6:

Topic: Allies and Transformational Psychology

Choose 1 of the 2 prompts below on which to comment.

1. Entwistle noted that “theological reflection typically focuses more on God’s workings in the world,” while “psychological reflection typically focuses more on the workings of God’s world.” What implications does this have for the relationship between psychology and Christianity?

2. Kepler saw astronomers as “priests of Almighty God” who have “the honour of standing guard…at the door of the shrine at whose high altar Copernicus performs divine service.” How might this sentiment apply to all of us who study the book of God’s Works? How can we heed Kepler’s warning to “not consider the glory of our intellects, but the glory of God” in our academic and disciplinary pursuits?

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