Religion, Neuroscience and the Self: A New Personalism, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Religion, Neuroscience and the Self

A New Personalism, 1st Edition

By Patrick McNamara


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Hardback: 9780367028961
pub: 2020-01-29
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The purpose of this book is to use neuroscience discoveries concerning religious experiences, the Self and personhood to deepen, enhance and interrogate the theological and philosophical set of ideas known as Personalism. McNamara proposes a new eschatological form of personalism that is consistent with current neuroscience models of relevant brain functions concerning the self and personhood and that can meet the catastrophic challenges of the 21st century.

Eschatological Personalism, rooted in the philosophical tradition of "Boston Personalism", takes as its starting point the personalist claim that the significance of a self and personality is not fully revealed until it has reached its endpoint, but theologically that end point can only occur within the eschatological realm. That realm is explored in the book along with implications for personalist theory and ethics. Topics covered include the agent intellect, dreams and the imagination, future-orientation and eschatology, phenomenology of Time, social ethics, Love, the challenge of AI, privacy and solitude and the individual ethic of autarchy.

This book is an innovative combination of the neuroscientific and theological insights provided by a Personalist viewpoint. As such, it will be of great interest to scholars of Cognitive Science, Theology, Religious Studies and the philosophy of the mind.

Table of Contents

Forward and Acknowledgements

1 The need for an eschatological personalism

2 Previous personalisms

3 Possible worlds and the agent intellect

4 The Eschatological Dream Time

5 Subjectivity and Privacy

6 Eschatological ethics and the Kingdom of God

7 Divided self, depersonalization and evil

8 Conclusions

About the Author

Patrick McNamara is Professor in the Department of Psychology at Northcentral University and Associate Professor of Neurology at the Boston University School of Medicine, USA. He has published multiple articles and books on the interaction of religion, the brain, personhood and the self. He was also a co-founder of the Institute for the Bio-cultural study of Religion as well as the journal Religion, Brain and Behavior.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Neurotheology, Cognitive Science and Religion

Neurotheology and the relationship between cognitive neuroscience and religion form a new and developing field of scholarship that seeks to identify the link between the brain and religious and spiritual phenomena. This book series is looking for proposals featuring high quality research on topics related to this emerging discipline.

Projects in this series might include some of the following topics: psychological or health related issues impacted by religion and spirituality; practices such as meditation or prayer; studies of consciousness and altered states; drug induced experiences; and pathological conditions or near death phenomena. Research on rituals, liturgy, and other spiritual practices is also welcome, as are proposals that delve into philosophy, ontology, metaphysics, epistemology, and theology. Importantly though, any book in this series must consider both the function of the brain and one or more religious and spiritual worldview together. By engaging with the fresh insights and various controversies that exist within these topics this series better clarifies the many exciting issues relating cognitive neuroscience, religion and spirituality, and neurotheology.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Cognitive Neuroscience & Cognitive Neuropsychology
RELIGION / General
RELIGION / Christian Theology / General
RELIGION / Psychology of Religion
RELIGION / Theology
RELIGION / Religion & Science
SCIENCE / Life Sciences / Neuroscience