Introduction: New approaches to knotty old problems -- Avoiding Cartesian materialism -- From causal reductionism to self-directed systems -- From mindless to intelligent action -- How can neural nets mean? -- How does reason get its grip on the brain? -- Who's responsible? -- Neurobiological reductionism and free will.
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 ways in which organisms are more than the sum of their parts. That higher human capacities such as morality, free will, and religious awareness emerge from our neurobiological complexity and develop through our relation to others, to our cultural inheritance, and, most importantly, to God. Murphy addresses the questions of human uniqueness, religious experience, and personal identity before and after bodily resurrection. (shrink)
The term postmodern is generally used to refer to current work in philosophy, literary criticism, and feminist thought inspired by Continental thinkers such as Friedrich Nietzsche and Jacques Derrida. In this book, Nancey Murphy appropriates the term to describe emerging patterns in Anglo-American thought and to indicate their radical break from the thought patterns of Enlightened modernity.The book examines the shift from modern to postmodern in three areas: epistemology, philosophy of language, and metaphysics. Murphy contends that whole clusters of terms (...) in each of these disciplines have taken on new uses in the past fifty years and that these changes have radical consequences for all areas of academia, especially in philosophy of science, philosophy of religion, and ethics. (shrink)