Rethinking Human Nature: A Christian Materialist Alternative to the Soul - eBook
Author: Kevin J. Corcoran
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What is human nature? is a question of perennial interest, one with which artists, philosophers, theologians, and social scientists continue to wrestle. Augustine and Descartes are classic examples of proponents of body-soul dualism; they contend that human persons are immaterial souls. Today, however, the dominant position among philosophers and scientists views human persons as identical with human animals, that is, humans are nothing more than 'biological computers.'
As an alternative to dualism or a reductionistic version of materialism, Kevin Corcoran proposes a position known as the Constitution View, which suggests humans are constituted by their bodies without being identical to the bodies that constitute them. Although this view can be traced back to Aristotle, it wasn't applied to persons and bodies until the twentieth century. Corcoran situates the Constitution View theologically and philosophically, arguing for the view's moral relevance by developing an ethic of compassion and care---exemplified in discussion of implications for genetic and reproductive technologies---and demonstrating the theological superiority of the Constitution View over dualism by showing its connection to the Christian doctrine of the resurrection.
This book will be useful for provoking class discussion in a fresh way, especially in theological anthropology, philosophy of religion, and ethics courses.
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