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Emergent Mind: What Brains & Cognition Tell Us About Faith
April 16, 2015 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Philip Clayton, PhD
Ingaham Professor, Claremont School of Theology
The reduction of consciousness to the brain, which has not been achieved by science despite some claims to the contrary, would represent a kind of crowning glory for science but would have devastating implications for the humanities, the arts, and religious belief. Separating consciousness from brain (dualism) protects mind and faith from scientific encroachment, but only at the cost of an arbitrary halt to scientific research. A more balanced consideration suggests emergent mind; i.e., mental properties and experiences are produced by and remain dependent on the brain, yet explaining the emergent phenomena requires us to rely on emergent disciplines beyond the neurosciences, such as psychology, anthropology, and the humanities. We will consider the data, evaluate the status of emergent phenomena, and explore the implications for religious belief and experience.