The Problem Of The Soul

Author: Owen Flanagan
Publisher: Basic Books
ISBN: 0786725311
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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Science has always created problems for traditional ways of seeing things, but now the very attributes that make us human--free will, the permanence of personal identity, the existence of the soul--are threatened by the science of the mind. If the mind is the brain, and therefore a physical object subject to deterministic laws, how can we have free will? If most of our thoughts and impulses are unconscious, how can we be morally responsible for what we do? If brains and bodies undergo relentless change, how can our identities be constant? The Problem of the Soul shows the way out of these paradoxes. Framing the conflict in terms of two dominant visions of the mind--the "manifest image" of humanistic philosophy and theology, and the scientific image--Owen Flanagan demonstrates that there is common ground, and that we need not give up our ideas of moral responsibility and personal freedom in order to have an empirically sound view of the human mind. This is a profoundly relevant work of philosophy for the common reader.

Dreaming Souls

Author: Owen Flanagan
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 019534958X
Format: PDF
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What, if anything, do dreams tell us about ourselves? What is the relationship between types of sleep and types of dreams? Does dreaming serve any purpose? Or are dreams simply meaningless mental noise--"unmusical fingers wandering over the piano keys"? With expertise in philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience, Owen Flanagan is uniquely qualified to answer these questions. And in Dreaming Souls he provides both an accessible survey of the latest research on sleep and dreams and a compelling new theory about the nature and function of dreaming. Flanagan argues that while sleep has a clear biological function and adaptive value, dreams are merely side effects, "free riders," irrelevant from an evolutionary point of view. But dreams are hardly unimportant. Indeed, Flanagan argues that dreams are self-expressive, the result of our need to find or to create meaning, even when we're sleeping. Rejecting Freud's theory of manifest and latent content--of repressed wishes appearing in disguised form--Flanagan shows how brainstem activity during sleep generates a jumbled profusion of memories, images, thoughts, emotions, and desires, which the cerebral cortex then attempts to shape into a more or less coherent story. Such dream-narratives range from the relatively mundane worries of non REM sleep to the fantastic confabulations of deep REM that resemble psychotic episodes in their strangeness. But however bizarre these narratives may be, they can shed light on our mental life, our well being, and our sense of self. Written with clarity, lively wit, and remarkable insight, Dreaming Souls offers a fascinating new way of apprehending one of the oldest mysteries of mental life.

In Search of the Soul Second Edition

Author: Joel B. Green
Publisher: Wipf and Stock Publishers
ISBN: 1608994732
Format: PDF, Mobi
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Why A Search for the Soul? Many Christians assume that it is biblically faithful and theologically noncontroversial to speak of humans having a soul. Yet a wide range of biblical scholars are questioning whether we have correctly understood what the Bible means when it speaks of the soul. And contemporary neuroscience is laying more and more questions at the doorstep of the church, asking whether our human sense of self is intelligible on the basis of soul. But for thoughtful Christians, following science on this point looks like caving in to reductionism, while denying science gives off the door of obscurantism. In Search of the Soul provides a rare opportunity to listen in as four Christian philosophers set forth their best arguments for their distinct views and then respond to each other. While each of these views calls for careful framing and patient exposition, they are labeled as follows: - SUBSTANCE DUALISM (Stewart Goetz) - EMERGENT DUALISM (William Hasker) - NONREDUCTIVE PHYSICALISM (Nancey Murphy) - CONSTITUTION VIEW OF PERSONS (Kevin Corcoran) The editor introduces the debate by laying out the critical issues at stake, and wraps it up by considering the implications for the Christian life, particularly hospitality and forgiveness. This is a book of timely interest to philosophers, theologians, psychologists, and pastors. Whatever conclusions readers may draw, they will find here an instructive and engaging discussion of a controversy that will not go away any time soon.

Self Expressions

Author: Owen J. Flanagan
Publisher: Oxford University Press on Demand
ISBN: 0195096967
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Human beings have the unique ability to consciously reflect on the nature of the self. But reflection has its costs. We can ask what the self is, but as David Hume pointed out, the self, once reflected upon, may be nowhere to be found. The favored view is that we are material beings living in the material world. But if so, a host of destabilizing questions surface. If persons are just a sophisticated sort of animal, then what sense is there to the idea that we are free agents who control our own destinies? What makes the life of any animal, even one as sophisticated as Homo sapiens, worth anything? What place is there in a material world for God? And if there is no place for a God, then what hold can morality possibly have on us--why isn't everything allowed? Flanagan's collection of essays takes on these questions and more. He continues the old philosophical project of reconciling a scientific view of ourselves with a view of ourselves as agents of free will and meaning-makers. But to this project he brings the latest insights of neuroscience, cognitive science, and psychiatry, exploring topics such as whether the conscious mind can be explained scientifically, whether dreams are self-expressive or just noise, the moral socialization of children, and the nature of psychological phenomena such as multiple personality disorder and false memory syndrome. What emerges from these explorations is a liberating vision which can make sense of the self, agency, character transformation, and the value and worth of human life. Flanagan concludes that nothing about a scientific view of persons must lead to nihilism.

Science and Christianity

Author: J. B. Stump
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
ISBN: 1118625242
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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This is an accessible and engaging introduction to topics at the intersection of science and Christian theology. It addresses important topics including divine action, the problem of natural evil, and eschatology, and includes feature boxes highlighting quotations, biographies of major scientists and theologians, key terms, and other helpful information

All in the Mind

Author: Peter Clarke
Publisher: Lion Books
ISBN: 0745956769
Format: PDF, Mobi
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Many people believe that the findings of neuroscience refute all religous belief, and that any religious experiences are simply the products of abnormal brain events, such as epilepsy. But does the evidence back up such claims? Not according to Peter Clarke, a neuroscientist. In this comprehensive study of the facts, Clarke looks at how the brain works, what it means to be human, the nature of free will, near death experiences, and the idea of a soul. He takes on the leading thinkers in this area, including Francis Crick, Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sigmund Freud, Sam Harris and Daniel Wegner

Science and Nonbelief

Author: Taner Edis
Publisher: Greenwood Publishing Group
ISBN: 9780313330780
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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Provides an overview of the complex history of the secular tradition of science and its interactions with religions and spiritual traditions

The Philosophy of Need

Author: Soran Reader
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9780521678445
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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Until recently, philosophers tended to be suspicious of the concept of need. Contributors to this volume build on recent work establishing its philosophical importance. David Wiggins, Gillian Brock and John O'Neill propose remedies for some mistakes made in ignoring or marginalising need, for example in need-free theories of rationality or justice. Christopher Rowe, Soran Reader and Sarah Miller highlight insights that emerge when the concept of need is explored through Plato, Aristotle and Kant - and others that emerge when historical work is seen through the lens of need. Jonathan Lowe and Garrett Thomson consider the role need plays in the philosophies of action and mind. Bill Wringe, David Braybrooke and Sabina Alkire debate how our obligations relating to need are best understood and articulated, and how we can best ensure they are fulfilled, exploring for example how talk of need is related to talk of rights, well-being or capability.

Rethinking Human Nature

Author: Malcolm Jeeves
Publisher: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing
ISBN: 0802865577
Format: PDF, Mobi
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How do the many exciting recent scientific discoveries in neuroscience, psychology, evolutionary biology, genetics and paleoanthropology challenge and complicate but also enrich and illuminate the traditional Christian portrait of human nature? In Rethinking Human Nature an international team of scientists, historians, philosophers, and theologians presents both the wisdom of the past and the cutting edge of present and developing scientific research to explore answers to this vital question. Their discussions examining our brains, our genes, our ancestors, our societies, and more will help us develop a more nuanced and complete understanding of what it really means to be human. Contributors: Evandro Agazzi, R. J. Berry, Alison S. Brooks, Franco Chiereghin, Felipe Fernandez, Graeme Finlay, Joel Green, Malcolm Jeeves, Jrgen Mittelstrass, David G. Myers, Janet Martin Soskice, Fernando Vidal

Meditations of a Buddhist Skeptic

Author: B. Alan Wallace
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 0231530323
Format: PDF, ePub
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Renowned Buddhist philosopher B. Alan Wallace reasserts the power of shamatha and vipashyana, traditional Buddhist meditations, to clarify the mind's role in the natural world. Raising profound questions about human nature, free will, and experience versus dogma, Wallace challenges the claim that consciousness is nothing more than an emergent property of the brain with little relation to universal events. Rather, he maintains that the observer is essential to measuring quantum systems and that mental phenomena (however conceived) influence brain function and behavior. Wallace embarks on a two-part mission: to restore human nature and to transcend it. He begins by explaining the value of skepticism in Buddhism and science and the difficulty of merging their experiential methods of inquiry. Yet Wallace also proves that Buddhist views on human nature and the possibility of free will liberate us from the metaphysical constraints of scientific materialism. He then explores the radical empiricism inspired by William James and applies it to Indian Buddhist philosophy's four schools and the Great Perfection school of Tibetan Buddhism. Since Buddhism begins with the assertion that ignorance lies at the root of all suffering and that the path to freedom is reached through knowledge, Buddhist practice can be viewed as a progression from agnosticism (not knowing) to gnosticism (knowing), acquired through the maintenance of exceptional mental health, mindfulness, and introspection. Wallace discusses these topics in detail, identifying similarities and differences between scientific and Buddhist understanding, and he concludes with an explanation of shamatha and vipashyana and their potential for realizing the full nature, origins, and potential of consciousness.