Helmut Reich’s theory of relational and contextual reasoning is a courageous initiative for the resolution of cognitive conflicts between apparently incompatible or incommensurable views. Built upon Piagetian logico-mathematical reasoning, cognitive complexity theory, and dialectical and analogical reasoning, it includes the development of a both/and logic inclusive of binary either/or logic. Reich provides philosophic, theoretical, and even initial empirical support for the development of this form of reasoning along with a heuristic for its application. A valuable step beyond the limits of (...) binary, static, and formal reasoning, it takes relationship, context, and perspectival variations seriously in an explicitly reflective and iterative system. We can and do address conflicts not resolvable by conventional appeals to logic or evidence, including those at epistemic boundaries or produced by belief-commitment differences. Although this form of reasoning has real promise, including stepping beyond complementarity in the religion-science dialogue, it seems better directed to causally explanatory theories than to other forms of rendering meaning. Finally, its coextension requirement may render it problematic where functionally coherent explananda cannot be identified or are themselves produced or constituted by a belief system. (shrink)
Differences of understanding in science and in religion can be explored via the distinction between paradigmatic and narrative modes of explanation. Although science is inclusive of the paradigmatic, I propose that in explaining the behavior of complex adaptive systems, and in the human sciences in particular, narratives may well constitute the best scientific explanations. Causal relationships may be embedded within, and expressions of higher-order constraints provided by, complex system dynamics, best understood via the temporal organization of intentionalities that constitute narrative. (...) Complex adaptive systems, out of which intentions emerge, have behavioral trajectories that are in principle unique, contingent, and nondeterministic even in stable states and unpredictable across phase transitions. Given such unpredictability, the only explanation can be an interpretive story that retrospectively retraces the actual changes in dynamics. Without narrative, personality traits and human actions are incomprehensible. Such phenomena do not permit a reduction of purposive acts to nonpurposive elements or of reasons to the causes they constrain. Causality does not exhaust meaning. Given the role of narratives in human lives, religion and mythology provide larger stories within which individual stories make sense. Differences between narrative and historical truth suggest how we can be constituted by what we imagine ourselves to be. (shrink)
The article claims that the concept of spirit or of incorporeal substance is a key concept in the thought of St. Augustine. It first recalls how the concept of spirit, which Augustine learned to conceive from the Platonists in Milan, permitted Augustine to extricate himself from Manicheism. Augustine, after all, was one of the very first in the Latin West to be able to think of God and of the soul as incorporeal. The paper shows how Augustine used the concept (...) of spirit in arguing against the corporealism of the Manichees and goes on to show from the Letters of Augustine how the bishop of Hippo used the concept of spirit against the Arians, how he held the spirituality of the soul as a fixed point of knowledge about the soul, how he used the concept of spirit to help Consentius to think correctly about God, to help Evodius to think correctly about the Trinity, to answer Volusian's questions about the incarnation, and to answer Italica's question about seeing God with the eyes of the body. In conclusion, the paper claims that the concept of a spiritual substance is one of the lasting elements of Neoplatonism in the thought of Augustine. /// O objectivo primordial do presente artigo é demonstrar que o conceito de espírito ou de substância incorporal constitui um conceito chave no pensamento de Santo Agostinho. Num primeiro momento, o artigo mostra de que modo o conceito de espírito, que Agostinho aprendeu a conceber dos Platónicos em Milão, permitiu a Agostinho libertar-se da influência do Maniqueísmo. Na realidade, Agostinho foi um dos primeiros na tradição do Ocidente Latino a ser capaz de pensar Deus e a alma como incorporais. O artigo mostra assim de que modo Agostinho usou o conceito de espírito na sua argumentação contra o corporealismo dos maniqueus, procedendo depois, a partir das Cartas de Agostinho, a uma demonstração do modo como o Bispo de Hipona usou o conceito de espírito contra os Arianos, de que modo ele defendeu a espiritualidade da alma como um ponto fixo no conhecimento acerca da alma, como ele usou o conceito de espírito em ordem a ajudar Consentius a pensar correctamente acerca de Deus, ou para ajudar Evodius a pensar correctamente acerca da Trindade, para responder às questões que Volusiano colocou acerca da incarnação, e para responder à questão de Italica acerca da visão de Deus com os olhos do corpo. Em suma, o artigo defende que o conceito de uma substância espiritual constitui um dos elementos remanescentes e duradoiros do Neoplatonismo no pensamento de Santo Agostinho. (shrink)
Abstract. Concepts of individual autonomy underlie much of contemporary self-understanding, including the institutions and ways of living in modern societies. These concepts of autonomy are complex, even contradictory, and may present problems for our future. This overview sketches the narrative arc of a collection of papers addressing these topics. While autonomy and individuality are not fictions, neither do what we take to be individuality or autonomy have an unchanging reality. We are both influenced by and have an influence upon how (...) these concepts are understood and used, and their implications for our history, our morality, our religious life, and the future of our relationships and our communities. (shrink)
Abstract. The dangerous level of individuality in contemporary Western culture is informed by a conception of mind, self, and soul as internal to the central nervous system. The historical development of this view has produced a bounded and self-contained individual at odds with communal life. Happily, scientific and philosophical studies of mind are coming to view the human mind as embodied, enactive, encultured, and embedded in social and technical networks, and as a construction not limited to the boundaries of the (...) individual organism. Mental phenomena are hybrids of events in the head and events in the world to which they are often coupled, not least of which are with other people. There are mutual and reciprocal implications of this externalism for a number of religious themes. Our understanding of redemption might better be bound to our relationships with others, including our bodies and our sexuality, rather than to a private, individual relationship with the sacred. (shrink)
Bernard Lonergan contrasts his account of judgment with that of the relativist. This paper points out how Lonergan’s characterization of the relativist account of judgment closely resembles the account of judgment that F. H. Bradley had given. Furthermore, the paper points to areas of commonality between Lonergan and Bradley with regard to human knowing. Despite their similarities, however, Lonergan’s account of judgment clearly distinguishes his theory of knowing from anything Iike Bradley’s idealism.
THE ARTICLE TRIES TO SHOW THAT AUGUSTINE’S CLAIM THAT THERE ARE NO ACCIDENTS IN GOD IS COMPATIBLE WITH THE CLAIM THAT GOD HAS CONTINGENT PROPERTIES. HIS DISTINCTION BETWEEN SPEECH ABOUT GOD, THOUGHT ABOUT GOD, AND THE BEING OF GOD ALLOWS HIM TO HOLD THAT GOD IS SIMPLE THOUGH A MULTIPLICITY OF TERMS WITH DIFFERENT MEANINGS ARE PREDICATED OF HIM. AUGUSTINE PROVIDES, IT IS ARGUED, A BASIS FOR A RULE TO ALLOW FOR A COHERENT DISTINCTION BETWEEN RELATIVE AND NON-RELATIVE PROPERTIES OF (...) GOD. (shrink)
The cognitive sciences may be understood to contribute to religion-and-science as a metadisciplinary discussion in ways that can be organized according to the three persons of narrative, encoding the themes of consciousness, relationality, and healing. First-person accounts are likely to be important to the understanding of consciousness, the "hard problem" of subjective experience, and contribute to a neurophenomenology of mind, even though we must be aware of their role in human suffering, their epistemic limits, and their indirect causal role in (...) human behavior and subsequent experience. Second-person discussions are important for understanding the empathic and embodied relationality upon which an externalist account of mind is likely to depend, increasingly uncovered and supported by social neuroscience. Third-person accounts can be better understood in uncovering the us/them distinctions that they encode and healing the dangerous tribalisms that put an interdependent and communal world increasingly at risk. (shrink)
Embodied cognitive science holds that cognitive processes are deeply and inescapably rooted in our bodily interactions with the world. Our finite, contingent, and mortal embodiment may be not only supportive, but in some cases even constitutive of emotions, thoughts, and experiences. My discussion here will work outward from the neuroanatomy and neurophysiology of the brain to a nervous system which extends to the boundaries of the body. It will extend to nonneural aspects of embodiment and even beyond the boundaries of (...) the body to prosthetics of various kinds, including symbioses with a broad array of cultural artifacts, our symbolic niche, and our relationships with other embodied human beings. While cognition may not always be situated, its origins are embedded in temporally and spatially limited activities. Cognitive work also can be off-loaded to the body and to the environment in service of action, tool use, group cognition, and social coordination. This can blur the boundaries between brain areas, brain and body, and body and environment, transforming our understanding of mind and personhood to provide a different grounding for faith traditions in general, and of the historically dualist Christian tradition in particular. (shrink)
The paper explores three areas in which Avicenna had an important influence on the metaphysics of Henry of Ghent: first, in developing an argument for the existence of God in metaphysics rather than in physics; secondly, in his intentional distinction between essence and existence; and thirdly, in his arguments not merely that there is only one God, but that it is impossible for there to be many gods, his arguments which Henry clearly took from books one and eight of Avicenna’s (...) ’Metaphysics’. (shrink)
The heart of Book Two of De Iibero arbitrio is devoted to a lengthy argument that concludes that God is and is truly and sovereignly. This argument rests upon two crucial principia that have been called the principles of subordination and participation. An examination of their function in the argument reveals that Augustine could hardly have thought that he had produced a demonstration of God’s existence.