Is the human self singular and unified or essentially plural? This book explores the seemingly disparate ways that Christian theology and the secular human sciences have approached this complex question. The latter have largely embraced the idea of the plural self as an inescapable, even adaptive feature of psychological life. Contemporary Christian theology, by contrast, has largely neglected recent psychological accounts of the naturalness of self-plurality, and has sought to reaffirm the self's unity in opposition to those postmodern theorists who would dismantle it. Through an original analysis of recent theological and secular accounts of self and personhood, this book examines the extent of the intertheoretical disparity and its broader implications for theology's dialogue with the human sciences in general, and psychology in particular. It explains why theologians ought to take questions about the plurality of self very seriously, and how they overlap with many of the central concerns of contemporary theological anthropology, including the notions of relationality, particularity and human sinfulness. Introducing a novel psychological framework to distinguish various understandings of self-disunity, the author argues that contemporary theology's blanket condemnation of self-multiplicity is misconceived, and identifies a possible means of reconciling theological and human scientific accounts.
’This, the latest publication in the Ashgate Science and Religion Series, is an original and stimulating interdisciplinary study of personhood that deals with issues around self-multiplicity head on, rather than relegating them to the periphery. Renowned for its cross-discipline debates on a number of contemporary issues under the editorship of Roger Trigg and J. Wentzel van Huyssteen, the series here offers an interesting interface between theology and the human sciences on the topic of the plural self.’ Heythrop Journal
Science and religion have often been thought to be at loggerheads but much contemporary work in this flourishing interdisciplinary field suggests this is far from the case. The Science and Religion Series presents exciting new work to advance interdisciplinary study, research and debate across key themes in science and religion. Contemporary issues in philosophy and theology are debated, as are prevailing cultural assumptions. The series enables leading international authors from a range of different disciplinary perspectives to apply the insights of the various sciences, theology, philosophy and history in order to look at the relations between the different disciplines and the connections that can be made between them. These accessible, stimulating new contributions to key topics across science and religion will appeal particularly to individual academics and researchers, graduates, postgraduates and upper-undergraduate students.