In the following pages, I want to show the relevance of two contemporary disciplines for addressing some of the human problems especially acute in modern times. The two disciplines I have in mind are the psychoanalytic ego psychology associated with the names of Heinz Hartman, Robert White, and Erik Erikson, and the school of process philosophy, generally linked with the name of A. N. Whitehead. These disciplines have special relevance for two of the dominant characteristics of modern societies, that is, pluralism and rapid social change. In addition, I find these resources to be helpful for evaluating some of the anthropological issues in writings of selected leading exponents of the counterculture. …
Don Browning is associate professor of religion and personality at the Divinity School, University of Chicago.
Cybernetics and the Symbolic Body Model by William W. Everett
The human body plays a leading role in social and religious symbolism. Terms like Corpus Christi, body politic, corporation, body of knowledge, and corpus juris fill the speech of academics and laymen alike. Our perceptions of social and material reality are deeply affected by this metaphorical use of the word body. Exhortation to the loftiest tasks of self-sacrifice or salvation appeal frequently to body symbols. Calls to civic action often depend on an analysis of the cancerous growth or sickness in the social body. Men are even willing to die for a body politic which is their Mother or Bride. A peoples sense of the historical fittingness of acts can be greatly determined by the view that a societys history is the growth of a body to maturity and senescence. Similarly the human body can be used to depict the whole universe and cosmic history as an eternal or near-immortal body. The symbolic use of the body conditions much human thought and action. In this regard it is a basic component of ethical reflection and morally purposeful action. In this essay I shall develop the concept of the symbolic body model and indicate how cybernetics may affect its implications for contemporary society.¹ …
¹ I have developed the ideas presented here more expansively in my doctoral dissertation, Body Thinking in Ecclesiology and Cybernetics (Harvard University, 1970).
William W. Everett is assistant professor of theology and social science at St. Francis School of Pastoral Ministry, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Similarities and Differences between Scientific and Theological Thoughts by John W. Lansing
The modern Christian lives in a theological world and a scientific world. He also has been told frequently that these two modes of thought are utterly distinct, bearing no relation to one another. Such a sharp dichotomy, however, is intolerable to one who is not content to compartmentalize his thought, and it is my conviction that the distinction has been overdrawn. A closer examination will reveal that, while there are important differences, there are also significant similarities between the two structures of thought. We shall proceed first by looking briefly at some of the sharp distinctions which have been drawn and then by examining some of the similarities and differences between scientific and theological thought.
In what follows we are presupposing that theological language does have at least some cognitive meaning. This may be considered a dubious presupposition and certainly requires a more extensive defense than would be possible within the context of this essay. Nevertheless, we believe such a defense can be made. …
John W. Lansing is professor of religion at Central Methodist College, Fayette, Missouri.
Philosophy of science is an interdisciplinary enterprise currently engaging the interests and efforts of many scientists as well as philosophers. The origins of its present formulation as a problem date back about a hundred years¹ when science had begun to acquire some of the characteristics that identify it even today. In those early days, philosophers of science concerned themselves primarily with the logic and with the language of the sciences. Every effort was made to eliminate precisely those considerations—ontological, epistemological, psychological, sociological, and historical—that now form part of the entire interdisciplinary consideration of science in general, and of particular sciences as well.
As a consequence, one cannot help but be astonisJ1ed at the radical alteration in the problems and the minute proliferation in the questions raised as to the meaning of science now as contrasted with a hundred years ago. For one, the devotees of philosophy of science are not limited to professional philosophers. A philosopher of science may concern himself with the logic, or with the psychology of science; he may give his attention to the problem of distinguishing science from other branches of learning and from common sense; he may reflect upon the developmental character of the sciences and study, in great detail, the number and the variety of factors that favor or that retard scientific development. One can even find contemporary philosophers of science who consider it naïve or uninteresting to regard science alone as being objective, and others who would regard as amusing the proposal that science is a cultural product immune to a variety of mundane influences. There is, then, a caravanserie of perspectives on science— the logic of science, the sociology of science, and so forth— that the expression philosophy of science comprises today in contrast with its original narrow and rather rigid formulation. …
¹ For a short and clear exposition of how the current problematic of science arose, see Peter Alexander, The Philosophy of Science: 1850-1910, in A Critical History of Western Philosophy, ed. D. J. OConnor (New York: Free Press, 1964), pp. 402- 25.
Edward A. Maziarz is professor of philosophy at Loyola University of Chicago.
Transcendence edited by Herbert W. Richardson and Donald R. Cutler, reviewed by Kenneth Cauthen