No issue is more urgent for those of us who attempt to understand ourselves as human beings in the light of scientific knowledge than the relationship between naturalistic descriptions of physics, chemistry, and biology on the one hand, and the realities of mind and spirit on the other. To be sure, we are thoroughly convinced that whatever we are as humans has taken shape through the evolutionary interactions of the natural stuff which the natural sciences focus upon, but we are equally insistent that mind and spirit are real and also determinative for our lives as creatures of nature. As yet, however, the sciences are far from explaining fully to us just how these two dimensions of our nature are related.
This article examines the current affirmation within theology of historicism, with its assumption that the historical realm, broadly construed, is the only arena of human activity and knowledge and its repudiation of traditional forms of foundationalism and correspondence theories of truth. The essay performs this task by analyzing the work of Gordon Kaufrnan and William Dean, setting forth their commonly shared historicism, pragmatism, and constructivist approaches to theology, as well as their differences concerning nonlinguistic dimensions of experience. The essay also focuses on the move by both thinkers to include nature in their understanding of history and to offer biocultural interpretations of human existence.
constructive theology • historicism • nature • pragmatism • radical empiricism
Sheila Greeve Davaney is Associate Professor of Theology at Iliff School of Theology, 2201 South University, Denver, CO 80210.
The Nature of Physical Reality by John C. Polkinghorne
This account of the dynamical theory of chaos leads to a metaphysical picture of a world with an open future, in which the laws of physics are emergent-downward approximations to a more subtle and supple reality and in which there is downward causation through information input as well as upward causation through energy input. Such a metaphysical picture can accommodate both human and divine agency.
antireductionism • chaos • dEspagnat • determinism • downward causation • emergence • Farrer • Feigenbaum • fractals • God of the gaps • Mandelbrot set • MacKay • mechanism • mind and matter • Moltmann • Peacocke • process thought • quantum theory • reductionism • Whitehead
John Polkinghorne is a former Professor of Mathematical Physics at Cambridge University, a Fellow of the Royal Society, an Anglican priest, and the President of Queens College, Cambridge, England.
Search for Beliefs to Live by Consistent with Science by R. W. Sperry
Instead of separating religion and science into mutually incompatible realms, the new macromental paradigm of behavioral science permits integration of the two within a single consistent worldview. A new form of causal determinism combines conventional bottom-up with emergent top-down causation. Traditional materialist tenets are overturned, along with the science-values dichotomy, clearing the way for a science-based value/belief system. Intrinsic ethicomoral directives emerge in which a revised sense of the sacred would help protect the evolving quality of the biosphere, and the rights and welfare of future generations. Subsequent versions of todays changing worldview raise questions of which interpretation to believe. An analysis of New Age thinking is called for, and a brief attempt at such analysis is included.
consciousness revolution • emergent causation • macromental paradigm • mind-brain relation • New Age • religion-science tension • science-values dichotomy • spirit
Roger W. Sperry is Board of Trustees Professor Emeritus at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125.
Authors note. This article responds to a request to write a nonspecialist, personalized account of the beliefs I live by as a scientist and how I arrived at them. Planned for a popular volume, the original version (Sperry 1986) is here expanded and updated for readers more professionally concerned with relating religion and science. I thank Robert Doty, Charles Hamilton, and Colwyn Trevarthen for helpful comments on the manuscript, and Patricia Anderson for assistance in compiling the references.
Current Trends in the Philosophy of Medicine by Robert Lyman Potter
The philosophy of medicine, a developing discipline, is defined as critical reflection on the activity of medicine. The clinical encounter is both its central aspect and the focus for philosophical analysis. The most systematic example of this discipline employs a mixture of empiricism and phenomenology. Systems thought presents an organizing schema by which the philosophy of medicine can move toward a more comprehensive and fundamental analysis of its own agenda, which includes four main topics: understanding the patient-physician interaction, concepts of health and disease, foundations of medical ethics, and the dialogue between medicine and the larger culture.
clinical encounter • empiricism • phenomenology • philosophy of medicine • systems analysis
Robert Lyman Potter is a practicing physician who is also engaged in medical and theological education. He is Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine for the University of Kansas School of Medicine as well as Adjunct Professor of Medicine and Religion for Central Baptist Theological Seminary, both in Kansas City, Kansas. His office address for the private practice of internal medicine is 8004 Washington Avenue, Kansas City, KS 66112. Dr. Potter is a Ph. D. candidate in religion and psychological studies at the University of Chicago Divinity School.
Ralph Wendell Burhoe: His Life and Thought: IV. Burhoes Theological Program by David R. Breed
The fourth installment from the authors book-length study of Ralph Wendell Burhoes life and thought sets forth the substance of his intellectual theological program. Constructed with the intention of laying the foundation for behavior that conforms to the requirements for survival as laid down by the reality system of which we are part, it also aims to provide motivation for such behavior. The heart of the program is formed by concepts of God and soul. The concept of God grounds an understanding of a reality system upon which we are dependent and to which we must conform whereas the concept of soul gives assurance that our behavior does make a difference and that our contributions to the reality system possess an everlasting quality.
Burhoe • God • immortality • metaphysics of physics • natural selection • revelation • soul
David R. Breed, an independent scholar and systems consultant, lives at 5218 South Dorchester Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60615.
Relating Science and Theology with Complementarity: A Caution by Kevin J. Sharpe
I examine Helmut Reichs recent (Zygon, December 1990) discussion of the complementarity model for relating science and theology and find it confusing. On the one hand, his complementarity purports to make science and theology relevant for each other. It even requires we solve their conflicts. On the other hand, it discourages the overlap of scientific and theological knowledge and thus the direct resolution of their conflicts.
complementarity • Helmut Reich • theology and science
Kevin J. Sharpe is a Professor in the Graduate School of the Union Institute, Cincinnati, Ohio. His address is 65 Hoit Road, Concord, NH 03301. The author thanks Helmut Reich for commenting on earlier drafts of this paper and for providing copies of his unpublished papers.
Universes by John Leslie and Physical Cosmology and Philosophy edited by John Leslie, reviewed by Holmes Rolston, III