Non-Reductive Physicalism

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    Barrajon, A. Pedro

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    The Soul in Theology: Critical Reflections on Non-reductive Physicalism

    "...[A]ccepting all the good contained in the position of non-reductive physicalism in its attempt to approach human nature in a disciplined perspective, I consider that it must open up to the development of a metaphysics of the human person and to the acceptance of the levels of philosophical and theological knowledge, with the explicit assumption of a metaphysics of being, which will permit it to sidestep the threatening trap of scientism."
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    Bowden, Ann

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    Of the Human Brain, Mind, and Soul

    "Nonreductive physicalism is the understanding of the human as a physical organism whose complex functioning, both in society and in relation to God, gives rise to ‘higher’ human capacities such as emotion, morality, and spirituality...The nonreductive physicalism perspective is a contemporary strategy to understand the relationship of the brain, mind, and soul. It is a rational approach that implies relatedness of these three components."
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    Brown, Warren S.

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    Did My Neurons Make Me Do It?

    "In this lecture I will be considering the following question: How is it possible for physicalism to avoid reductionism and biological determinism? Is it possible to give a reasonable account of free will within a physicalist understanding of human nature? I will try to defend the position that physicalism can be understood in a nonreductive way – that is, in a way that does not presume that all humanness can be reduced to 'nothing but' neurophysiology or the laws of physics, or that human behavior is entirely determined by physical laws."
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    Brown, Warren S.

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    Numinous or Carnal Persons? The Practical Costs of Inner Souls and Selves

    "How many essential substances am I composed of? Am I a body; a body and a soul; a body and a mind; a body, a mind, and a soul; or what about a body, a mind, a soul, and a spirit? These questions highlight the issue of dualism (or tri-part-ism or fourpart- ism) vs wholism (or monism). Another way to ask this question would be the following: Am I essentially numinous (i.e., a non-material spirit) or am I essentially carnal (i.e., a physical body). The answer one gives to this question is fundamental to almost every aspect of our understanding of human nature..."
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    Brown, Warren S.

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    The Knotty Implications of Recent Neuroscience Research

    "In today’s lecture, I wish to start from the beginning. I will attempt to restate the problem in an unambiguous way, survey the current neuropsychological data that are making the issue particularly acute for 21st Century Christians, and suggest a method for going about resolution of these questions. In the last part of this lecture, I will describe some adjustments we might want to make in our theological anthropology in order to establish greater resonance between theology and neuroscience."
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    Jeeves, Malcolm

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    How Free is Free?: Reflections on the Neuropsychology of Thought and Action

    "It is widely recognised that some of the implications of rapid developments in neuroscience raise with a fresh urgency questions of human freedom and responsibility. These are issues for humanists and atheists as much as for Christians since all claim that their often deeply held beliefs were rationally considered and freely embraced. However, the evidence from bottom-up neuro-scientific research points to the ever-tightening links between brain processes and mental processes and have been interpreted by some as pointing to a reductionist view of human nature. At the same time, with the use of new brain imaging techniques the evidence for the efficacy of top-down processes also accumulates at an accelerating pace. This paper argues that there is an irreducible interdependence between cognitive and neural processes calling for a duality of description but without necessitating belief in a dualism of substances."
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    Murphy, Nancey

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    Scientific Perspectives on Christian Anthropology

    "I have argued, all too briefly, that theology and science are moving toward consensus on a theory of human nature that may be surprising to some of you here. I have noted not only that science promotes a view of humankind as thoroughly physical, but have also surveyed results from biblical studies and church history over the past century that have also called body-soul dualism into question. This new (or rather very old) account of human nature has called for a lot of fresh theological work, since dualism had been presupposed for so many years. But it is work well worth doing, especially if it is true that recognition of our status as dust of the ground will help call us back to Jesus’ concern for bringing about the rule of God on earth."
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    Pereboom, Derk

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    Robust Nonreductive Materialism

    "I will first examine whether nonreductive materialism can finesse the explanatory exclusion problem. Subsequently I will argue that there are significant differences between the controversial sort of emergentism and nonreductive materialism, and that a nonreductive materialist need not be emergentist in this sense. I will then contend that a position according to which mental states instantiate irreducibly mental causal powers – the key feature of what I will call robust nonreductive materialism – indeed cannot be functionalist, but that there is a nonfunctionalist account of mental states to which the nonreductivist can turn. I will close by examining doubts that have been raised about arguments from multiple realizability against reductionism, concluding that the nonreductive view can withstand these doubts."
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    Sikkema, Arnold E.

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    A Physicist’s Reformed Critique of Nonreductive Physicalism and Emergence

    "The clearest definition of nonreductive physicalism articulated in a Christian context is given in a collection of papers whose authors, according to co-editor Nancey Murphy, agree 'with the scientists and philosophers who hold that it is not necessary to postulate a second metaphysical entity, the soul or mind, to account for human capacities and distinctiveness [while indicating their] rejection of contemporary philosophical views that say that the person is "nothing but" a body.'...While I join the 'nonreductive physicalist' in this eschewing of two (or more) types of substance, a Reformed Christian approach must contest the inherent reductionism of claiming that the one kind of stuff out of which the world is made is the stuff of physics."
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    Wilson, Jessica

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    Non-reductive Physicalism and Degrees of Freedom

    "It has been claimed that NRP is not a stable position, on grounds that NRP either collapses into reductive physicalism (involving the denial of Non-reduction), or expands into emergentism of a robust or 'strong' variety (involving the denial of Physicalism). I will argue here that this claim is unfounded. NRP offers a viable middle ground between reductive physicalism and robust emergentism, according to which some phenomena are, as I’ll sometimes put it, ‘weakly emergent’ from physical phenomena."