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Title: Toward a Multilayered View on the Mind
Authors: Uytterhoeven, Tom
Issue Date: 2013
Conference: conferentie The Soul van Centre of Theologyand Philosophy location:Oxford date:28/06-31/07/2013
Abstract: The scientific study of the human mind has made enormous progress. Neurology seems to be able to map out the way humans process information to such a degree that it even has become a matter of debate within education whether or not to use insights from neurology in the classroom. Neurological studies thus influence the way we think about education, i.e.: the way we think a human person ought to develop. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance to critically assess what we mean by concepts as ‘reason’ and ‘rationality’. Moreover, if science claims to study the essence of being human by studying the human mind, an assessment of the possible relation between ‘mind’ and ‘soul’ seems necessary.
This paper will offer some suggestions on how this assessment could be done, starting from a study of the concepts of ‘reason’ and ‘rationality’ in Thomas Aquinas’ work. Highlighting some important aspects of his understanding of ‘reason’ will prepare the ground for the second part of the paper.
There, current use of ‘reason’ and ‘rationality’ will be discussed. It will be argued that there is a tendency, certainly within New Atheism, to look at these concepts from a purely technical, functionalist perspective. This reductionist view is the main reason for our present-day difficulties to understand Thomas Aquinas’ nuanced language.
Criticizing limited views on rationality, this paper will suggest that ‘reason’ forms a multi-layered semantic field, enabling us to put the theological concept of ‘love’, which science neglects or reduces to the effects of natural processes, on center stage in the ongoing dialogue between science and theology about what it means to be human.
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: IMa
Appears in Collections:Research Unit Systematic Theology - miscellaneous
Onderwijs TMMA (-)

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