Strong claims have been made for emergence as a new paradigm for understanding science, consciousness, and religion. Tracing the past history and current definitions of the concept, Clayton assesses the case for emergent phenomena in the natural world and their significance for philosophy and theology. Complex emergent phenomena require irreducible levels of explanation in physics, chemistry and biology. This pattern of emergence suggests a new approach to the problem of consciousness, which is neither reducible to brain states nor proof (...) of a mental substance or soul. Although emergence does not entail classical theism, it is compatible with a variety of religious positions. Clayton concludes with a defence of emergentist panentheism and a Christian constructive theology consistent with the new sciences of emergence. (shrink)
At what age should children acquire adult rights? To what extent are parents morally permitted to shape the beliefs of their children? How should childbearing rights and resources be distributed? Matthew Clayton provides a controversial set of answers to these and related issues in this pivotal new work.
Assessing children's episodic future thinking by having them select items for future use may be assessing their functional reasoning about the future rather than their future episodic thinking. In an attempt to circumvent this problem, we capitalised on the fact that episodic cognition necessarily has a spatial format (Clayton & Russell, 2009; Hassabis & Maguire, 2007). Accordingly, we asked children of 3, 4, and 5 to chose items they would need to play a game (blow football) from the opposite (...) side of the table on which they had never before played. The crucial item was the box that was needed by children to reach the table from the other side. Over four experiments, we demonstrated that, while children of 3 perform poorly on future questions and children of 5 generally perform quite well, children of 4 years find a question about what they themselves will need to play in the future harder to answer than a similar question posed about another child. We suggest that this result is due to the 'growth error' of over-applying newly-developed Level 2 perspective-taking skills (Flavell et al., 1981), which encourages the selection of non-functional items. The data are discussed in terms of perspective-taking abilities in children and of the neural correlates of episodic cognition, navigation, and theory of mind. (shrink)
This book analyses the moral theory of the seventh century Indian Mahayana master, Santideva. Santideva is the author of the well-known religious poem the Bodhicaryavatara (Entering the Path of Enlightenment) , as well as the significant, but relatively overlooked, Siksasamuccaya (Compendium of Teachings) . Both of these works describe the nature and path of the bodhisattva, the altruistic spiritual ideal especially exalted in Mahayana literature. With particular focus on the Siksasamuccaya , this work offers a response to three questions: What (...) is Santideva's moral theory? How does it compare to other analyses of Buddhist ethics? Can one moral theory adequately describe Buddhist moral thought? An exegetical account of the bodhisattva path as outlined in the Siksasamuccaya is provided by textual analysis and translations. The central moral concept of this Buddhist thinker and Santideva's ethical presuppositions and moral reasoning are brought to light by analysing the use of key moral terms and comparing them to other Buddhists' principles. It is also considered in relation to dominant Western ethical theories. By focusing on a neglected Buddhist Sanskrit text by a major Mahayana figure, Barbra Clayton helps to redress a significant imbalance in the scholarship on Buddhist ethics, which has up to now focused primarily on the ethics of the Pali literature and as interpreted in the Theravada tradition. (shrink)
The hope of moving beyond formalism is one of two things that unites an otherwise diverse group of literary theorists who have begun to explore the role of desire in narrative. Peter Brooks, for example, in Reading for the Plot, says in more than one place that his interest in desire “derives from my dissatisfaction with the various formalisms that have dominated critical thinking about narrative.”3 Leo Bersani sees desire as establishing a crucial link between social and literary structures. Teresa (...) de Lauretis faults structuralist models for their inability to disclose the ways in which narrative operates, through the desire it excites and fulfills, to construct the social world as a system of sexual differences. Other names could be added, both within and outside the field of narrative theory—Nancy Armstrong, Roland Barthes, Georges Bataille, Jessica Benjamin, Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, René Girard, Luce Irigaray, Fredric Jameson, Peggy Kamuf, Linda Kauffman, Julia Kristeva, Jacques Lacan, Jean Laplance, Catharine A. McKinnon, and Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick—for desire has become one of the master tropes of contemporary criticism. 3. Peter Brooks, Reading for the Plot: Design and Intention in Narrative , p. 47; hereafter abbreviated RP.4. Leo, Bersani, A Future for Astyanax: Character and Desire in Literature , p. 13; hereafter abbreviated FA.5. Bersani and Ulysse Dutoit, The Forms of Violence: Narrative in Assyrian Art and Modern Culture , p. v; hereafter abbreviated FV. Although Bersani coauthored this book with Dutoit, for convenience I refer to it by Bersani’s name alone. This practice is justified by two considerations: first, most of the arguments about narrative, violence, and desire are elaborations of positions that Bersani has taken in earlier works; second, passages and examples in the sections with which I shall be dealing are reprinted with only minor changes from an article that Bersani published under his own name. Jay Clayton, associate professor of English at Vanderbilt University, is the author of Romantic Vision and the Novel and coeditor of Contemporary Literature and Contemporary Theory . He is currently completing a study of contemporary American literature and theory, Narrative Power. (shrink)
In this book Philip Clayton defends the rationality of religious explanations by exploring the parallels between explanatory effects in the sciences and the explanations offered by religious believers, students of religion, and theologians. Clayton begins by surveying the types of religious explanation, offering a synopsis of the most significant competing positions. He then critically examines recent important developments in the philosophy of science regarding the nature of scientific explanations—including the work of Popper, Hempel, Kuhn, and Lakatos in the (...) natural sciences and Habermas, Weber, and Schütz in the social sciences. Clayton outlines the process of rational evaluation in these disciplines, defining the explanatory quest as the attempt to make sense of or bring coherence into subjective and intersubjective worlds. He briefly discusses explanations in philosophy and then turns to the explanatory role of individual religious experience, drawing on a coherence theory of meaning and on the conclusions from his discussion of science. Based on his defense of the doubting or “secular” believer, he concludes by advocating a model of theology in which questions about the truth of a religious tradition are intrinsic to its theology. “A valuable exposition of the thesis that the explanatory work of theology possesses formal similarities with that of the physical sciences, the social sciences, and philosophy. Clayton exhibits an impressive command of a broad area of scholarship, and his reflections are balanced and carefully argued.” –Michael J. Buckley, S.J., professor of religion at the Jesuit Theological Seminary and author of _At the Origins of Modern Atheism_ “I know of no philosopher writing today who has dealt in as informed and thoughtful a way with the broad subject of this book. Clayton guides the reader through important discussions with ease, illuminating the path all along the way.” –Josiah B. Gould, professor of philosophy at the State University of New York, Albany. (shrink)
Religion and science are arguably the two most powerful social forces in the world today. But where religion and science were once held to be compatible, most people now perceive them to be in conflict. This unique book provides the best available introduction to the burning debates in this controversial field. Examining the defining questions and controversies, renowned expert Philip Clayton presents the arguments from both sides, asking readers to decide for themselves where they stand: science _or_ religion, or (...) science _and_ religion? Intelligent Design vs. New Atheism the role of scientific and religious ethics – designer drugs, AI and stem cell research the future of science vs. the future of religion. Viewpoints from a range of world religions and different scientific perspectives are explored, making this book essential reading for all those wishing to come to their own understanding of some of the most important debates of our day. (shrink)
Traditional theistic proofs are often understood as evidence intended to compel belief in a divinity. John Clayton explores the surprisingly varied applications of such proofs in the work of philosophers and theologians from several periods and traditions, thinkers as varied as Ramanuja, al-Ghazali, Anselm, and Jefferson. He shows how the gradual disembedding of theistic proofs from their diverse and local religious contexts is concurrent with the development of natural theologies and atheism as social and intellectual options in early modern (...) Europe and America. Clayton offers a fresh reading of the early modern history of philosophy and theology, arguing that awareness of such history, and the local uses of theistic argument, offer important ways of managing religious and cultural difference in the public sphere. He argues for the importance of historically grounded philosophy of religion to the field of religious studies and public debate on religious pluralism and cultural diversity. (shrink)
No consensus yet exists on how to handle incidental fnd-ings in human subjects research. Yet empirical studies document IFs in a wide range of research studies, where IFs are fndings beyond the aims of the study that are of potential health or reproductive importance to the individual research participant. This paper reports recommendations of a two-year project group funded by NIH to study how to manage IFs in genetic and genomic research, as well as imaging research. We conclude that researchers (...) have an obligation to address the possibility of discovering IFs in their protocol and communications with the IRB, and in their consent forms and communications with research participants. Researchers should establish a pathway for handling IFs and communicate that to the IRB and research participants. We recommend a pathway and categorize IFs into those that must be disclosed to research participants, those that may be disclosed, and those that should not be disclosed. (shrink)
This volume introduces readers to emergence theory, outlines the major arguments in its defence, and summarizes the most powerful objections against it. It provides the clearest explication yet of this exciting new theory of science, which challenges the reductionist approach by proposing the continuous emergence of novel phenomena.
Some religiously devout individuals believe divine command can override an obligation to obey the law where the two are in conflict. At the extreme, some individuals believe that acts of violence that seek to change or punish a political community, or to prevent others from violating what they take to be God’s law, are morally justified. In the face of this apparent clash between religious and political commitments it might seem that modern versions of political morality—such as John Rawls’s political (...) liberalism—that refuse to take a stance on controversial religious matters, or eschew appeal to perfectionist doctrines, are beset by a particularly acute version of this problem of religious disobedience. Whilst political liberalism follows this path so as to generate wide and stable support, it raises the question of how political liberals should respond to religiously motivated non-compliance with the norms of that liberal conception of justice. This article evaluates what resources are available to political liberalism to respond to this challenge. It examines whether anti-perfectionism can be sustained in the face of those whose religious beliefs are in conflict with the law. We argue that, under certain circumstances, political liberalism requires direct engagement with the religious views of the unreasonable, including offering religious arguments to show that their particular interpretation of their faith is mistaken. This view takes political liberalism away from its usual ambitions, but it is a position that is both anticipated by Rawls and consistent with his view. It does, however, require that political liberals give up the claim that the view is a wholly non-sectarian, purely political view, and accept that, under certain circumstances it is a partially comprehensive version of liberal theory. (shrink)
Ultimately we will only understand biological agency when we have developed a theory of the organization of biological processes, and science is still a long way from attaining that goal. It may be possible nonetheless to develop a list of necessary conditions for the emergence of minimal biological agency. The authors offer a model of molecular autonomous agents which meets the five minimal physical conditions that are necessary (and, we believe, conjointly sufficient) for applying agential language in biology: autocatalytic reproduction; (...) work cycles; boundaries for reproducing individuals; self-propagating work and constraint construction; and choice and action that have evolved to respond to food or poison. When combined with the arguments from preadaptation and multiple realizability, the existence of these agents is sufficient to establish ontological emergence as against what one might call Weinbergian reductionism. Minimal biological agents are emphatically not conscious agents, and accepting their existence does not commit one to any robust theory of human agency. Nor is there anything mystical, dualistic, or non-empirical about the emergence of agency in the biosphere. Hence the emergence of molecular autonomous agents, and indeed ontological emergence in general, is not a negation of or limitation on careful biological study but simply one of its implications. (shrink)
Notwithstanding an ongoing concern about the low representation of certain groups in higher education, there is reluctance on the part of politicians and policy makers to adopt positive discrimination as an appropriate means of widening participation. This article offers an account of the different objections to positive discrimination and, thereafter, clarifies and criticises the view that universities ought to select those applicants who are expected to be most successful as students. It distinguishes arguments from meritocracy, desert, respect, and productivity and (...) shows how these arguments are compatible with the use of positive discrimination in higher education. (shrink)
The author discusses Rawls’s conception of socioeconomic justice, Democratic Equality. He contrasts Rawls’s account, which includes the difference principle constrained by the principle of fair equality of opportunity, with Natural Aristocracy, which constrains the difference principle only by the principle of careers open to talents. According to the author, many of Rawls’s own arguments support NaturalAristocracy over Democratic Equality. In particular, Natural Aristocracy appears well placed to avoid a challenge that naturally arises in consideration of Democratic Equality, with respect to (...) which formal distributive principle should deal with social and natural causes of inequality. The challenge is to cite a morally relevant distinction which supports the appropriateness of dealing with natural causes of inequality differently to those generated by social causes. In support of his proposal, the author also appeals to certain arguments in Rawls’s Political Liberalism. (shrink)
Despite calls by some commentators for disclosing incidental fndings in genetics research, several factors weigh in favor of caution. The technology of genetics has the power to uncover a vast array of information. The most potent argument for restraint in disclosure is that much research is pursued without consent so that the individual participant may not know that research is being conducted at all. Often the work is done by investigators and at institutions with which the person has no prior (...) contact. Past practice is also relevant; genetics researchers historically have chosen not to disclose incidental fndings, of which misattributed paternity and pleiotropic alleles such as ApoE have been the most common. Many people choose not to have genetic tests when given a choice. It may be desirable to discuss the topic of incidental fndings when consent for research is obtained, but given the risk of unwanted surprise when there has been no prior discussion, the potential utility of incidental fndings should be very high before they are even ofered to individuals. (shrink)
In the West panentheism is known as the view that the world is contained within the divine, though God is also more than the world. I trace the history of this school of philosophy in both Eastern and Western traditions. Although the term is not widely known, the position in fact draws together a broad range of important positions in 20th and 21st century metaphysics, theology, and philosophy of religion. I conclude with some reflections on the practical importance of this (...) position. (shrink)
The claim that the ideal of equality has a role to play in the critique of discrimination in employment and education has been rejected by a number of philosophers. Certain anti-egalitarians argue that the appeal to equality is redundant; others that egalitarianism misdirects us or fails to explain our special hostility towards discrimination. This article sketches an egalitarian conception of justice in selection and explains what is distinctive about such conceptions. Thereafter, it attempts to rebut the important objections that have (...) been raised against egalitarian accounts of discrimination. (shrink)
Why are humans so clever? This book explores the idea that this cleverness has evolved through the increasing complexity of social groups. It brings together contributions from leaders in the field, examining social intelligence in different animal species and exploring its development, evolution and the brain systems upon which it depends.
Curricular and co-curricular civic engagement activities and programs are analyzed in terms of their capacity to contribute to a common set of outcomes associated with nurturing civic-minded graduates: academic knowledge, familiarity with volunteering and nonprofit sector, knowledge of social issues, communication skills, diversity skills, self-efficacy, and intentions to be involved in communities. Different programs that promote civic-mindedness, developmental models, and assessment strategies that can contribute to program enhancement are presented.
Michael Polanyi was perhaps the most important emergence theorist of the middle of the 20th century. As the key link between the British Emergentists of the 1920s and the explosion of emergence theory in the 1990s, he played a crucial role in resisting reductionist interpretations of science and keeping the concept of emergence alive. Polanyi’s position on emergence is described and its major strengths and weaknesses are analyzed. Using Polanyi as the foundation, the article surveys the major contemporary options in (...) thephilosophy of mind and defends a particular understanding of the relationship of mental properties to brain states. (shrink)
This essay provides practical tips for effective teaching in science-and-religion courses. It offers suggestions for dealing with difficult questions and creating a climate of shared learning. Along with pedagogical advice, it covers fundamental principles for teaching broadly integrative religion-and-science courses. Instructors are encouraged to reflect on their purpose(s) in offering their course and to formulate specific objectives using the techniques and resources outlined here.
Looking back over the last 40 years of work in the philosophy of religion provides a fascinating vantage point from which to assess the state of the discipline today. I describe central features of American philosophy of religion in 1970 and reconstruct the last 40 years as a progression through four main stages. This analysis offers an overarching framework from which to examine the major contributions and debates of process philosophy of religion during the same period. The major thinkers, topics, (...) positions, and controversies are presented, analyzed, and critiqued. In the concluding section I offer a critical appraisal of the state of the field today based on the results of these historical analyses. (shrink)
This Afterword looks back over both parts of the discussion of “God and the World of Signs”—“Semiotics and the Emergence of Life” in the previous issue of Zygon and “Semiotics and Theology” in this issue. Three central questions in this extended debate are identified: What is the nature of biological organisms and biological evolution? What is the relationship between the natural world and the Triune God of the Christian theological tradition? What should be the goals of Science/Religion Studies? I summarize (...) the answers that Christopher Southgate and Andrew Robinson have given in their program and the challenges raised by their critics. Their strengths and weaknesses are assessed. In the conclusion I ask readers to imagine that this particular research program were to be taken as a model program in science-and-religion research (with some tweaking) and then consider the features of the program that could function as standards for scholars working in other areas of the dialogue. (shrink)
. The startling success of the religion‐science discussion in recent years calls for reflection. Have old walls been broken down, old antagonisms overcome? Have science and religion finally been reconciled? Or is all the activity just so much sound and fury signifying nothing? Postmodern equations of scientific and religious beliefs disregard a number of enduring differences that help make sense of the continuing tensions. Yet the skepticism of authors such as John Caiazza is also ungrounded. I describe five major types (...) of approaches that are being employed in the recent literature. These methods have led to a deeper understanding of the commonalities between science and religion and have produced new productive partnerships between them. (shrink)