If humans are purely physical, and if it is the brain that does the work formerly assigned to the mind or soul, then how can it fail to be the case that all of our thoughts and actions are determined by the laws of neurobiology? If this is the case, then free will, moral responsibility, and, indeed, reason itself would appear to be in jeopardy. Nancey Murphy and Warren S. Brown here defend a non-reductive version of physicalism whereby humans are (sometimes) the authors of their own thoughts and actions. Did My Neurons Make Me Do It? brings together insights from both philosophy and the cognitive neurosciences to defeat neurobiological reductionism. One resource is a "post-Cartesian" account of mind as essentially embodied and constituted by action-feedback-evaluation-action loops in the environment, and "scaffolded" by cultural resources. Another is a non-mysterious account of downward (mental) causation explained in terms of a complex, higher-order system exercising constraints on lower-level causal processes. These resources are intrinsically related: the embeddedness of brain events in action-feedback loops is the key to their mentality, and those broader systems have causal effects on the brain itself. With these resources Murphy and Brown take on two problems in philosophy of mind: a response to the charges that physicalists cannot account for the meaningfulness of language nor the causal efficacy of the mental qua mental. Solutions to these problems are a prerequisite to addressing the central problem of the book: how can biological organisms be free and morally responsible? The authors argue that the free-will problem is badly framed if it is put in terms of neurobiological determinism; the real issue is neurobiological reductionism. If it is indeed possible to make sense of the notion of downward causation, then the relevant question is whether humans exert downward causation over some of their own parts and processes. If all organisms do this to some extent, what needs to be added to this animalian flexibility to constitute free and responsible action? The keys are sophisticated language and hierarchically ordered cognitive processes allowing (mature) humans to evaluate their own actions, motives, goals, and rational and moral principles.
|Body, Soul, and Human Life: The Nature of Humanity in the Bible (Studies in Theological Interpretation)|
by Joel B. Green (Author), Craig Bartholomew (Series Editor), Joel Green (Series Editor), Christopher Seitz (Series Editor)
Are humans composed of a material body and an immaterial soul? This view is commonly held by Christians, yet it has been undermined by recent developments in neuroscience. Exploring what Scripture and theology teach about issues such as being in the divine image, the importance of community, sin, free will, salvation, and the afterlife, Joel Green argues that a dualistic view of the human person is inconsistent with both science and Scripture. This wide-ranging discussion is sure to...
|Neuroscience, Psychology, and Religion: Illusions, Delusions, and Realities about Human Nature (Templeton Science and Religion Series)|
by Malcolm Jeeves (Author), Warren S. Brown (Author)
Neuroscience, Psychology, and Religion is the second title published in the new Templeton Science and Religion Series. In this volume, Malcolm Jeeves and Warren S. Brown provide an overview of the relationship between neuroscience, psychology, and religion that is academically sophisticated, yet accessible to the general reader.
The authors introduce key terms; thoroughly chart the histories of both neuroscience and psychology, with a particular focus on how these disciplines...
|Bodies and Souls, or Spirited Bodies? (Current Issues in Theology)|
by Nancey Murphy (Author)
Are humans composed of a body and a nonmaterial mind or soul, or are we purely physical beings? Opinion is sharply divided over this issue. In this clear and concise book, Nancey Murphy argues for a physicalist account, but one that does not diminish traditional views of humans as rational, moral, and capable of relating to God. This position is motivated not only by developments in science and philosophy, but also by biblical studies and Christian theology. The reader is invited to appreciate...
|The Physical Nature of Christian Life: Neuroscience, Psychology, and the Church|
by Warren S. Brown (Author), Brad D. Strawn (Author)
This book explores the implications of recent insights in modern neuroscience for the church's view of spiritual formation. Science suggests that functions of the brain and body in collaboration with social experience, rather than a disembodied soul, provide physical basis for the mental capacities, interpersonal relations, and religious experiences of human beings. The realization that human beings are wholly physical, but with unique mental, relational, and spiritual capacities, challenges...
|Community Psychology: In Pursuit of Liberation and Well-being|
by Nelson (Author), Prilleltensky (Author)
In its broadest sense, community psychology studies the individual's relationships to their community and to wider society. Sitting at the junction between social and clinical psychology, and heavily influenced by activist traditions in political science, sociology and social work, this powerfully written book delivers a comprehensive introduction to the definition and aims of this justice-orientated field of psychology. Editors Nelson and Prilleltensky cover a broad range of the critical...
|Whatever Happened to the Soul? Scientific and Theological Portraits of Human Nature|
by Warren Brown (Author), Nancey Murphy (Editor), H. Newton Malony (Editor)
Winner of Prize for Outstanding Book in Theology and the Natural Sciences As science crafts increasingly detailed accounts of human nature, what has become of the soul? This collaborative project strives for greater consonance between contemporary science and Christian faith. Outstanding scholars in biology, genetics, neuroscience, cognitive science, philosophy, theology, biblical studies, and ethics join here to offer contemporary accounts of human nature consistent with Christian teaching....
|Being Human: Race, Culture, and Religion|
by Dwight N. Hopkins (Author)
Dwight Hopkins, whose important work in Black Theology has mediated class theological concerns through the prism of African American culture, here offers a fresh take on theological anthropology. Rather than defined "the human" as one eternal or inviolable essence, however, Hopkins looks to the multiple and conflicting notions of the human in contemporary thought, and particularly three key variables: culture, self, and race. Hopkins' critical reframing of these concepts firmly locates human...
|When Science Meets Religion: Enemies, Strangers, or Partners?|
by Ian G. Barbour (Author)
The Definitive Introduction To
The Relationship Between
Religion And Science
∗ In The Beginning: Why Did the Big Bang Occur?
∗ Quantum Physics: A Challenge to Our Assumptions About Reality?
∗ Darwin And Genesis: Is Evolution God′s Way of Creating?
∗ Human Nature: Are We Determined by Our Genes?
∗ God And Nature: Can God Act in a Law-Bound World?
Over the centuries and into the new millennium, scientists, theologians, and the general...
|The Human Being: A Theological Anthropology|
by Hans Schwarz (Author)
This overview of Christian anthropology by Hans Schwarz uniquely emphasizes three things: (1) the biblical testimony, (2) the historical unfolding of Christian anthropology through the centuries, and (3) the present affirmation of Christian anthropology in view of rival options and current scientific evidence.
Schwarz begins by elucidating the special place occupied by human beings in the world, then ponders the complex issue of human freedom, and concludes by investigating humanity as a...
|A Contemporary Introduction to Free Will|
by Robert Kane (Author)
Accessible to students with no background in the subject, A Contemporary Introduction to Free Will provides an extensive and up-to-date overview of all the latest views on this central problem of philosophy. Opening with a concise introduction to the history of the problem of free will--and its place in the history of philosophy--the book then turns to contemporary debates and theories about free will, determinism, and related subjects like moral responsibility, coercion, compulsion,...