Naturalism is thus the view that (1) only nature exists, (2) nature as a whole is nonpersonal, (3) the basic stuff of nature is eternal and necessary, (4) all natural events have natural causes, (5) only scientific method yields knowledge, and (6) ethics and the humanistic philosophy of man are adequate. At least, these are the basic family traits of naturalism.
Rem B. Edwards
In my September 1986 editorial I suggested that one of the basic challenges, as well as opportunities, for people seeking to unite contemporary science with religious thought is the challenge of the general outlook, one might say world view, of scientifically grounded materialism. Many of the papers in that issue of Zygon grappled with this challenge and its implications for religious thought.
The same challenge is presented in the above description of naturalism from Rem B. Edwardss Reason and Religion: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion (Washington, D.C.: University Press of America, 1979, p. 138). Edwardss delineation of the family traits of naturalism and a discussion of some of its varieties takes place in the first of three chapters on the topic of the relation of God and the world. The following two chapters consider the supernaturalistic and panentheistic positions. In the supernaturalistic view the basic characteristics of God are other than the basic features of the world; in the panentheistic view the basic characteristics of God include those that not only distinguish God from but also identify God with the basic features of the world. Together, these three chapters in Edwardss book provide an excellent analysis of some of the philosophical issues underlying the relations between theology and science.
An important issue in the development of the American school of philosophy known as critical naturalism was whether the naturalistic vision implied a humanistic or a theistic interpretation of religion. Is the divine a creativity within nature but more than human effort, or is it the human vision of ideal possibilities and the effort to realize them? This issue is clarified through a study of the concept of the divine developed by the leading naturalist John Dewey in A Common Faith, the misunderstanding of this book by Henry Nelson Wieman, and the discussion of this misunderstanding in the pages of Christian Century. The essay concludes that Wiemans misunderstanding of Dewey is instructive in that it reveals unintended possibilities in Deweys thought.
critical naturalism • John Dewey • naturalistic theism • Henry Nelson Wieman
Marvin C. Shaw is professor of religious studies at Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana 59717.
Theological Naturalism and the Nature of Religion: On Not Begging the Question by Charley D. Hardwick
Too many theologies beg the question about the nature of religion by building metaphysically substantive assumptions into its description. Typically these assumptions are: the object of religious devotion must be both absolute and personal, final causality must be true, and there must be a cosmic conservation of value. Theological naturalism, exemplified in the thought of Henry Nelson Wieman, articulates an entirely formal, yet not substantively empty, conception of religion which does not beg these questions and which is consequently more descriptively adequate to the nature of religion. It cannot therefore be assumed, without begging the question, that religious adequacy requires the metaphysical falsity of philosophical naturalism.
contemporary theology • definitions of religion • demythologizing • empirical theology • naturalism • Henry Nelson Wieman
Charley D. Hardwick is professor of religious studies at The American University in Washington, D.C. He is the author of Faith and Objectivity: Fritz Buri and the Hermeneutical Foundations of a Radical Theology and Religious Truth in the Absence of God.
Functionalism, Fallibilism, and Anti-foundationalism in Wiemans Empirical Theism by Nancy Frankenberry
Empirical philosophy of religion is usually appraised in light of its theological uses, rather than in terms of its relation to philosophical forms of empiricism. The present paper examines the empirical theism of Henry Nelson Wieman by relating it to Carl Hempels critique of functionalism, Karl Poppers use of falsifiability, and the growth of post-empiricist anti-foundationalism in epistemology. It is concluded that Wiemans argument commits the fallacy of affirming the consequent; that his theistic perspective nevertheless offers an important heuristic device in line with fallibilism, and that his radical empiricism anticipates recent anti-foundationalist trends.
American radical empiricism • anti-foundationalism • critique of functionalism • Popperian fallibilism • religious empiricism • Henry Nelson Wieman
Nancy Frankenberry is associate professor of religion at Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire 03755.
How Empirical Is Wiemans Theology? by Tyron Inbody
The essay is a response to the papers written by Nancy Frankenberry and Charley Hardwick in the March 1987 issue of Zygon. Questions are raised about whether Wiemans theology is functionalist in the way described by Frankenberry and whether Hardwicks proposal to establish the logical possibility of naturalism as a framework for an existential interpretation of the Christian message is satisfactory. The most basic question raised by both papers is whether Wiemans theology is fully empirical when viewed from the point of view of the radical empiricist.
empirical theology • Bernard Loomer • Bernard Meland • philosophy of religion • radical empiricism • Henry Nelson Wieman
Tyron Inbody is professor of theology, United Theological Seminary, Dayton, Ohio 45406. He has published several articles on process-relational theology.
Toward a General Theory of Human Creativity by Mária Sáḡi and Iván Vitányi
The presence of a basic and general form of creativity in people is investigated through experiments with music. The results indicate that generative creativity—the ability to spontaneously generate a music by varying a basic set of musical elements—is a basic human endowment, unlike constructive creativity—the type of creativity exhibited by composers and other artists—which is the result of training and the special development of faculties. Generative creativitys coming to the fore in contemporary people would contribute to the development of the personality and help bring about more fulfilled, better balanced people and societies.
creativity • folk art • high art • modern society • music
Mária Sáḡi and Iván Vitányi are scientific secretary and director respectively for the Research Institute for Culture, Corvin Ter 8 H-1251, Budapest, Hungary.
Human Wholeness in Light of Five Types of Psychic Duality by Michael Washburn
Five types of psychic duality are distinguished: bipolarity, bimodality, contrariety, dualism, and the coincidentia oppositorum. Bipolarity is the basic division of the psyche into egoic and nonegoic (physico-dynamic) poles. Bimodality is the division ofegoic functioning into active and receptive modes. Contrariety is the division of the nonegoic sphere into opposing sympathetic and parasympathetic systems. Dualism is the organization imposed upon the bipolar structure by primal repression. And the coincidentia oppositorum is the condition of psychic integration that would emerge were dualism to be transcended and the bipolar structure (together with the bimodal and contrarietal structures) unified into a higher whole.
coincidence of opposites • duality • neurological correlates • psychic integration • wholeness
Michael Washburn is associate professor of philosophy, Indiana University at South Bend, South Bend, Indiana 46634. His areas of scholarship include transpersonal psychology, philosophy of mind, and Kant studies. His book, The Ego and the Dynamic Ground: A Transpersonal Theory of Human Development, has been accepted recently for publication.
The Primordial Roots of Being by Edward C. P. Stewart
Suffering, alongside the feeling of sanctity of life, pervades human experience, generating primal anxiety, which humans learn to shore up with social solidarity and with the practice of communication in religious rituals. The roots of social belonging spring from the primordial sentiments toward ethnicity, race, language, religion, customs and traditions, and region. Self-identity, mediated by mental formations derived from social relations, is composed of thinking and values. Daily experience reveals that cultural differences produce blind spots in thinking and barriers in values—governing areas of activity, social relations, the world, and identity of being—that impedes cross-cultural understanding.
cultural barriers to communication • cultural values and thinking • primal anxiety • primordial belonging and being • primordial sentiments • social humanism of religion
Edward C. P. Stewart is a professor at the International Christian University, Mitaka, Tokyo 181, Japan.
The Psychology of Religion by Joseph F. Byrnes, reviewed by Edward V. Stein