Since Aristotle, many writers have treated metaphors and similes as equals: any metaphor can be paraphrased as a simile, and vice-versa. This property of metaphors is the basis for psycholinguistic comparison theories of metaphor comprehension. However, if metaphors cannot always be paraphrased as similes, then comparison theories must be abandoned. The different forms of a metaphor—the comparison and categorical forms—have different referents. In comparison form, the metaphor vehicle refers to the literal concept, e.g. 'in my lawyer is like a shark', (...) the term 'shark' refers to the literal fish. In categorical form, 'my lawyer is a shark', 'shark' refers to an abstract (metaphorical) category of predatory creatures. This difference in reference makes it possible for a metaphor and its corresponding simile to differ (a) in interpretability and (b) in meaning. Because a metaphor cannot always be understood in terms of its corresponding simile, we conclude that comparison theories of metaphor are fundamentally flawed. (shrink)
Evolutionary biology contributes much to our present understanding of life, and it promises also to deepen our understanding of human intelligence, ethics, and even religion. For some scientific thinkers, however, Darwin's science seems so impressive that it now supplants theology altogether by providing the ultimate explanation of all manifestations of life, not only biologically but also metaphysically. By focusing on human intelligence as an emergent aspect of nature this essay examines the question of whether theology can still have an explanatory (...) role to play alongside biology in attempts to understand mind. (shrink)
Robert Russell's theological work has been a helpful stimulus to the task of understanding the meaning of divine action and providence in the age of science. He relates God's direct action "fundamentally" to the hidden domain of quantum events, and his theology of nature deserves careful attention. It is questionable, however, whether the term fundamental as applied to quantum events by physical science may be taken over by theology without more careful qualification than Russell offers.
This essay offers a critical assessment of environmental virtue ethics (EVE). Finding an environmental ethical analogy with Hume’s critique of the sensible knave, I argue that EVE is limited in much the same way as morality is on the Humean view. Advocates of nonanthropocentrism will find it difficult to engage those whose virtues comport them to anthropocentrism. Nonetheless, EVE is able to ground confidence in nonanthropocentric virtues by explicating specific key virtues, thereby holding open the possibility of bridging the motivational (...) gap between anthropocentrism and nonanthropocentrism. (shrink)
This essay is based on a lecture delivered at the 2002 IRAS Star Island conference, the theme of which was “Is Nature Enough? The Thirst for Transcendence.” I had been asked to represent the position of those who would answer No to the question. I thought it would stimulate discussion if I presented my side of the debate in a somewhat provocative manner rather than use a more ponderous approach that would argue each point in a meticulous and protracted fashion. (...) Here I lay out a theological position that finds naturalism wanting in three ways: in terms of human spiritual needs, in terms of the mind's need for deep explanation, and in terms of the perennial human search for truth. Again, the style of presentation, like that of the original lecture, prohibits the kind of philosophical development that an adequate answer to each of the issues requires. The purpose is that of evoking discussion on a most important question. (shrink)
In A Third Window Robert Ulanowicz exposes the explanatory weaknesses of both classical and statistical methods in scientific inquiry. His book, however, does much more than that. While being completely grounded in empirical science, it also outlines a worldview, or a metaphysics, that renders intelligible the fact of chance and emergent novelty. Ulanowicz establishes his position by comparing his third window onto nature with two others conventional scientific approaches. The purpose of this essay is to point out the value of (...) Ulanowicz’s approach for improving the quality of conversation between science and theology. (shrink)
Environmental virtue ethics (EVE) can be applied to environmental justice. Environmental justice refers to the concern that many poor and nonwhite communities bear a disproportionate burden of risk of exposure to environmental hazards compared to white and/or economically higher-class communities. The most common applied ethical response to this concern—that is, to environmental injustice—is the call for an expanded application of human rights, such as requirements for clean air and water. The virtue-oriented approach can be made consistent with such calls, but (...) there are broader applications as well that generate unique strategies for moral responsiveness and for expanding the role of moral philosophers in civic affairs. (shrink)
Recent evolutionary interpretations of religion can be illuminating. However, by failing to take into account what Polanyi calls the “logic of achievement” they end up attributing to impersonal segments of DNA the personal striving that underlies religious existence.
Evolutionary biology has considerably altered our understanding of life, and it now promises to enhance our understanding of human existence by providing new insights into the meaning of intelligence, ethical aspiration and religious life. For some scientific thinkers, especially those who espouse a physicalist worldview, Darwin’s science seems so impressive that it now replaces theology by providing the deepest available explanation of all manifestations of life, including human intelligence. By focusing on human intelligence this essay asks whether a theological perspective (...) on the universe can still have an illuminating role to play alongside of biology (and other scientific perspectives) in contemporary attempts to understand human intelligence. (shrink)
Hume’s projectivist theory of value suggests that (environmental) values are either individually or culturally relative and that intrinsic value ascriptions are incoherent. Previous attempts to avert these implications have typically relied on modified Humean accounts that either universalize human sensitivity to the value of the more-than-human world or that adapt the concept of intrinsic value to suit a world in which all values are projected. While there are merits to these approaches, there is another alternative. Hume’s own moral theory promises (...) to be an even richer source for environmental ethical discourse than previously thought, and this richness is owed in large part to the robustness of Hume’s theory of virtue. (shrink)
Gur general vision of the world will undoubtedly affect our environmental ethics. Scientific materialism is the “general vision” that undergirds many scholarly and popular presentations of science today. It is questionable whether this materialist metaphysics can consistently sustain an environmental concern. If scientists influenced by the materialistic outlook, nonetheless, happen to be environmentalists, itis in spite of and not because of their materialist philosophies of nature. What we need, therefore, is a cosmological vision that is nlore consistently supportive of an (...) environmental ethic. Religious visions are often ambiguous in their attitude toward the natural environment. Alfred North Whitehead and his followers weave modem science, philosophical sophistication and religious cosmology into a metaphysical vision fully and consistently supportive of a vigorous environmental ethic. (shrink)
The construction of a distinctively Christian “theology of evolution” or “theistic evolution” requires the incorporation of the science of evolutionary biology while building a more comprehensive worldview within which all things are understood in relation to our creating and redeeming God. In the form of theses, this article brings four support pillars to the constructive work: (1) orienting evolutionary history to the God of grace; (2) affirming purpose for nature even if we cannot see purpose in nature; (3) employing the (...) theology of the cross to discern divine compassion in the natural world; and (4) relying on the divine promise of new creation. Among other things, John Haught's blueprint has located the pedestals on which these pillars will stand. For this groundwork, Haught deserves thanks. (shrink)
John Haught has awarded the debates between religion (Christianity in particular) and science a central place in his ongoing corpus of work. Seeking to encourage and enhance the conversation, Haught both critiques current positions and offers his own perspective as a potential ground for continuing the discussion in a fruitful manner. This essay considers Haught's primary criticisms of the voices on both sides of the debate which his work connotes as polarizing or conflating the debate. It also (...) extrudes from Haught's work themes that provide alternative visions. The essay concludes with two questions for further consideration. (shrink)
The theology of God in the scholarship of John Haught exemplifies rigor, resourcefulness, and creativity in response to ever-evolving worldviews. Haught presents insightful and plausible ways in which to speak about the mystery of God in a variety of contexts while remaining steadfastly grounded in the Christian tradition. This essay explores Haught's proposals through three of his selected lenses—human experience, the informed universe, and evolutionary cosmology—and highlights two areas for further theological development.
Machine generated contents note: 1. Introduction: does information matter?; Paul Davies and Niels Henrik Gregersen; Part I. History: 2. From matter to materialism ... and (almost) back Ernan McMullin; 3. Unsolved dilemmas: the concept of matter in the history of philosophy and in contemporary physics Philip Clayton; Part II. Physics: 4. Universe from bit Paul Davies; 5. The computational universe Seth Lloyd; 6. Minds and values in the quantum universe Henry Pierce Stapp; Part III. Biology: 7. The concept of information (...) in biology John Maynard Smith; 8. Levels of information: Shannon-Bolzmann-Darwin Terrence W. Deacon; 9. Information and communication in living matter Bernd-Olaf Küppers; 10. Semiotic freedom: an emerging force Jesper Hoffmeyer; 11. Care on earth: generating informed concern Holmes Rolston; Part IV. Philosophy and Theology: 12. The sciences of complexity - a new theological resource? Arthur Peacocke; 13. God as the ultimate informational principle Keith Ward; 14. Information, theology and the universe John F. Haught; 15. God, matter, and information: towards a Stoicizing Logos christology Niels Henrik Gregersen; 16. What is the 'spiritual body'? Michael Welker; Index. (shrink)
I gratefully acknowledge and respond here to four reviews of my recent book, Cosmology from Alpha to Omega. Nancey Murphy stresses the importance of showing consistency between Christian theology and natural science through a detailed examination of my recent model of their creative interaction. She suggests how this model can be enhanced by adopting Alasdair MacIntyre's understanding of tradition in order to adjudicate between competing ways of incorporating science into a wider worldview. She urges the inclusion of ethics in my (...) model and predicts that this would successfully challenge the competing naturalist tradition in contemporary society. John F. Haught weighs the alternatives of viewing divine action as objective versus subjective and of divine action at one level in nature or at all levels. He asks whether physics is fundamental to nature, arguing instead that metaphysics should be considered as fundamental. Michael Ruse assesses occasional versus universal divine action, the problems raised to divine action when it is related to quantum mechanics, and the way these relations exacerbate the challenge of natural theodicy. As an alternative he suggests viewing God as outside time and acting through unbroken natural law. Willem B. Drees discusses my use of the bridge metaphor for the relation between theology and science, the implications when science is inspired by theology, the role of contingency and necessity in the anthropic principle/many-worlds debate, and the challenge of cosmology to eschatology with the ensuing problem of theodicy. (shrink)
Abstract: I argue that for psychological and social reasons, the traditional “Conflict Model” of science and religion interactions has such a strong hold on the nonexpert imagination that counterexamples and claims that interactions are simply more complex than the model allows are inadequate to undermine its power. Taxonomies, such as those of Ian Barbour and John Haught, which characterize conflict as only one among several possible relationships, help. But these taxonomies, by themselves, fail to offer an account of why (...) different relationships prevail among different communities and how they succeed one another within particular communities—that is, they contain no dynamic elements. To undermine the power of the “Conflict Model,” we should be seeking to offer alternative models for science and religion interactions that can both incorporate the range of stances articulated by scholars like Barbour and which can offer an account of the process by which differing attitudes succeed one another. As a step toward this goal, I propose a general “interacting subcultures model” and illustrate its applicability in a small number of mini-case studies from Early Modern Britain and France and with glances toward contemporary America. (shrink)
This paper considers the relationship between quantum uncertainty and the problem of God. Among the issues considered are the existence and essence ofGod, divine action, human freedom, and personal identity. In recent discussions concerning the relative merits of science and religion, thinkers like Ian Barbourand John Haught have suggested several such credible, albeit tentative, connections between the two on the basis of the epistemological limit imposed upon human knowledge by the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle.
The respondent agrees with William Grassie that many windows on nature are possible; that emphasis must remain on the generation of order; that “chance” would better be recast as “contingency”; and that the ecological metaphysic has wide implications for a “politics of nature”. He accepts the challenge by Pedro Sotolongo to extend his metaphysic into the realm of pan-semiotics and agrees that an ecological perspective offers the best hope for solving the world’s inequities. He replies to Stanley Salthe that he (...) now agrees that the second law of thermodynamics is the overarching law of nature, but only when the duality inherent in of the concept of entropy is widely recognized. The respondent is enthusiastic over Jeffrey Lockwood’s extrapolation of process ecology to include the concept of “species” and over John Haught’s description of how the construct paves the way for a “theology of evolution” by recasting evolution as an unfolding “drama”. (shrink)
Recent metaphor research has revealed that metaphor comprehension involves both categorization and comparison processes. This finding has triggered the following central question: Which property determines the choice between these two processes for metaphor comprehension? Three competing views have been proposed to answer this question: the conventionality view (Bowdle & Gentner, 2005), aptness view (Glucksberg & Haught, 2006b), and interpretive diversity view (Utsumi, 2007); these views, respectively, argue that vehicle conventionality, metaphor aptness, and interpretive diversity determine the choice between the (...) categorization and comparison processes. This article attempts to answer the question regarding which views are plausible by using cognitive modeling and computer simulation based on a semantic space model. In the simulation experiment, categorization and comparison processes are modeled in a semantic space constructed by latent semantic analysis. These two models receive word vectors for the constituent words of a metaphor and compute a vector for the metaphorical meaning. The resulting vectors can be evaluated according to the degree to which they mimic the human interpretation of the same metaphor; the maximum likelihood estimation determines which of the two models better explains the human interpretation. The result of the model selection is then predicted by three metaphor properties (i.e., vehicle conventionality, aptness, and interpretive diversity) to test the three views. The simulation experiment for Japanese metaphors demonstrates that both interpretive diversity and vehicle conventionality affect the choice between the two processes. On the other hand, it is found that metaphor aptness does not affect this choice. This result can be treated as computational evidence supporting the interpretive diversity and conventionality views. (shrink)
2.1 The Myth of Religious Neutrality ………………..………..………………… 2 2.2 ID and Creationism …………………………………………………………… 7 2.3 Methodological Materialism ……………………………….………………… 9 2.4 ID’s Contribution to Science ……………………………..………………… 13 3 Robert Pennock ………………...…..………………………….……..…………….. 17 4 John Haught ………………………………………………….……..…..………….. 23 5 Kevin Padian …………………………………………………..…….…..………….. 27 6 Kenneth Miller …………...……………………………………………..………….. 34..
In the context of the earlier views of John Haught, I discuss the paradox that while environmental philosophers seek a viable ethics, advocates of the majority view, scientific materialism, deny an intrinsic value to nature. I argue that a new science, just now arising, may set aside this pessimistic view, replacing it with a conception of the cosmos as a self-organizing genesis. Its method is holistic and integrative rather than analytical and divisive. After a survey of its overall outlines, (...) I introduce some salient features of the central trend, a key property, and a universal complementarity and explore their relevance for a scientifically based natural ethics that takes into account an ecological self, animal awareness, and cooperative communities. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that there are good reasons for not reading the last part of Polanyi’s book Personal Knowledge (1958) as the outline of a finalistic metaphysics, as proposed recently by Haught and Yeager, but rather as a modest speculative attempt to fulfill the requirements of a Gifford Lecturer, namely to treat of the relation between God and the world. Apart from the background of the writing of the book, I suggest that the predicament of theism in (...) the contemporary antimetaphysical climate and Polanyi’s emphasis onreligious practice, rather than metaphysical theorizing, as the locus of meaning in his other writings on religion, support this reading as well. (shrink)
This essay is a brief assessment of the lasting impact of Michael Polanyi’s thought on the growing interdisciplinary field of “theology and science.” I note representative examples in the writing of Ian Barbour, Thomas Torrance, John Polkinghorne, Arthur Peacocke and John Haught, showing how Polanyi’s “personal knowledge,” as well as some other Polanyian themes, have been recognized and accepted.
Mutual critique by scientists and religious believers mostly entails the pruning of untenable religious beliefs by scientists and warnings against scientific minimalism on the part of believers. John F. Haught has been prominent in formulating religious apologetics in response to the challenges posed by evolutionary theory. Haught's work also resonates with a parallel criticism of the conventional scientific metaphysics undergirding neo-Darwinian theory. Contemporary systems ecology seems to indicate that nothing short of a complete reversal of the Enlightenment assumptions (...) about nature is capable of repositioning science to deal adequately with the origin and dynamics of living systems. A process-based alternative metaphysics substantially mitigates several ostensible conflicts between science and religion. (shrink)