Minding God: Theology and the Cognitive Sciences

Front Cover
Fortress Press, 2003 - Religion - 252 pages
Does it make sense to speak of the "mind of God"? Are humans unique? Do we have souls? Our growing explorations of the cognitive sciences pose significant challenges to and opportunities for theological reflection. Gregory Peterson introduces these sciences: neuroscience, artificial intelligence, animal cognition, linguistics, and psychology-that specifically contribute to the new picture and their philosophical underpinnings. He shows its implications for rethinking longstanding Western assumptions about the unity of the self, the nature of consciousness, free will, inherited sin, and religious experience. Such findings also illumine our understanding of God's own mind, the God-world relationship, new notions of divine design, and the implications of a universe of evolving minds. Peterson is gifted at explaining scientific concepts and drawing their implications for religious belief and theology. His work demonstrates how new work in cognitive sciences upends and reconfigures many popular assumptions about human uniqueness, mind-body relationship, and how we speak of divine and human intelligence.
 

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Contents

What Does Silicon Valley Have to Do with Jerusalem?
3
Silicon Valley
5
Jerusalem
9
Jerusalem Engaging Athens
12
Doing Theology through the Lens of Cognitive Science
17
Looking Ahead
21
How the Mind Works A Cognitive Science Perspective
23
What It Is and What It Isnt
24
The Presumption of Uniqueness
122
The Locus Humanus
124
Rational Animals
128
Know Thyself
133
Feeling Machines?
137
Imaging God
145
Whence Original Sin?
151
In the Garden
152

The Grand Tour
29
The Mind as an Information Processor
36
The Situated MindBrain
41
The Cognitive Driver
44
Fitting Square Pegs into Round Wholes The Problem of Consciousness
49
What Is Consciousness?
50
Can Cognitive Science Tell Us Anything about Consciousness?
53
Consciousness as Function
55
Reductionism or Emergence?
60
Rethinking the Soul
69
Do Split Brains Listen to Prozac?
74
The Theological Subject
75
One Body One Mind?
77
The Paradox of Emotion
85
Constrained to Be Free
95
Mysterium Tremendum
99
On the Road to Damascus
100
Are They Real?
102
Religion on the Brain
105
Messages from Whom?
113
Alone in the Universe?
121
Saints and Sinners
154
Born Selfish?
156
Machiavellian Intelligence?
162
Are We Really That Way?
168
Organized to SelfOrganize
170
Falling Up?
175
The Mind of God
183
God as Person
184
From Design to Mind
188
WorldMindBody
197
The Nature and Destiny of Minds
202
The Crown of Creation?
203
The Place of Mind in the Universe
205
The Future of Human Minds
214
The Ultimate Future of Minds
219
Glossary
223
Notes
227
Bibliography
235
Index
247
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