I realized after writing that title that someone might think I’m announcing some major job transition. Nope. I am happily entrenched in sunny Portland, OR. But I am heading for Notre Dame this afternoon to spend several days at a philosophy of religion conference. The theme of the conference is “Minds, Bodies, and the Divine.” And here’s the description of what we’re supposed to be doing:
Various ancient religious/philosophical systems (Orphism, Pythagoreanism, and Stoicism) maintained that the divine mind ’embodied’ itself in the world in much the same way in which immaterial souls are supposedly embodied in human organisms. Christianity has likewise traditionally endorsed a duality of mind and body, and maintains that, in becoming incarnate, the Son of God somehow took on both a human soul and a human body.
In the 20th and 21st centuries mind-body dualism has come under heavy fire; philosophers in the Christian tradition have begun to explore what implications contemporary materialism might have for their doctrines of incarnation and afterlife; and other philosophers have begun to explore naturalistic and materialistic variations on panentheism.
In this workshop, we bring together philosophers and theologians with interests in contemporary philosophy of mind to explore questions about the nature of embodiment and about the relations between minds (human and divine) and the material world.
You can read more about the conference and the papers being presented here. If you’re curious, I’ll be presenting a paper on Jonathan Edwards and how he viewed the human person. It’s a little too complicated to summarize quickly, but basically it focuses on summarizing Edwards’ understanding of “created reality,” how it relates to God’s existence, and what implications this has for how Edwards’ understands the human person. I know that’s not a terribly helpful description, but it’s the best I can do in one quick sentence.
And as usual when I attend a conference. I’ll try to post some highlights from the various sessions when I get back. So you can (hopefully) look forward to that sometime next week.