Neuroscience and the Soul: The Human Person in Philosophy, Science, and Theology

Neuroscience and the Soul: The Human Person in Philosophy, Science, and Theology

Neuroscience and the Soul: The Human Person in Philosophy, Science, and Theology

Neuroscience and the Soul: The Human Person in Philosophy, Science, and Theology

Synopsis

An interdisciplinary look at arguments both for and against traditional belief in the soul
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It is a widely held belief that human beings are both body and soul, that our immaterial soul is distinct from our material body. But that traditional idea has been seriously questioned by much recent research in the brain sciences.
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In Neuroscience and the Soul fourteen distinguished scholars grapple with current debates about the existence and nature of the soul. Featuring a dialogical format, the book presents state-of-the-art work by leading philosophers and theologians -- some arguing for the existence of the soul, others arguing against -- and then puts those scholars into conversation with critics of their views. Bringing philosophy, theology, and neuroscience together in this way brings to light new nuances and significantly advances the ongoing debate over body and soul.

Excerpt

It is utterly common among religious and non-religious people alike to think of the human person as having two parts: a material part, the body, and a spiritual or non-material part, the soul. the body is corruptible, decays, and eventually dies, but the souls lives on, enabling personal survival beyond the death of the body. Religious and philosophical traditions differ among themselves about the post-mortem career of the soul: some say it will be reunited with a body in an eschatological resurrection, others that it will dissolve into everlasting unity with the Divine, others that it will be reincarnated many times, others holding different views yet. There is considerable diversity in how we think about the soul and its destiny, but that we have souls, spiritual or non-material parts of us that are distinct from our bodies and capable of surviving the death of our bodies, is a perennial and widespread human conviction.

It has become commonplace among educated denizens of the contemporary scene, however, to think that traditional belief in the soul has been debunked by the discoveries of modern neuroscience and related fields. Partly motivated by advances in the brain sciences but for other reasons as well, Christian thinkers in increasing numbers have been exploring and defending alternative ways of thinking about the human person, ways of thinking that do not involve belief in immaterial souls. Other Christian thinkers,ng semesters of the 2012–2013 academic year, the Biola University Center for Christian Thought gathered an interdisciplinary . . .

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