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Rethinking Human Nature: A Christian Materialist Alternative to the Soul [Paperback]

By Kevin J. Corcoran (Author)
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Item Specifications...

Pages   160
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.02" Width: 6.08" Height: 0.34"
Weight:   0.42 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jun 1, 2006
Publisher   Baker Publishing Group
ISBN  0801027802  
EAN  9780801027802  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Argues for the "constitution view" of human persons, situating this view within historical, philosophical, and theological contexts and demonstrating its moral and ethical relevance.

Publishers Description
What are we as human persons? Are we immaterial souls capable of disembodied existence or merely animals destined to dust? For centuries, scholars have debated this issue, and that debate continues today.
But the question of human nature can no longer remain a topic for discussion within the hallowed halls of the academy. End-of-life ethical decisions, human cloning, fetal tissue transplants, and stem cell research all reveal the urgency and the importance of the question for ordinary people.
"Rethinking Human Nature" offers a fascinating look at what it means to be human by defending the "constitutional view"--which suggests we are constituted by our bodies without being identical to the bodies that constitute us.
Grounded in Scripture, this book connects the theology and philosophy of human nature with the moral conundrums that confront us at the margins of life.

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More About Kevin J. Corcoran

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Kevin J. Corcoran (PhD, Purdue University) is professor of philosophy at Calvin College, specializing in philosophy of mind, metaphysics, and philosophy of religion. He is the author of many journal articles and the editor of Soul, Body, and Survival.

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Product Categories
1Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Social Sciences > Anthropology > General   [2910  similar products]
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Theology > General   [4167  similar products]
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > General   [8607  similar products]
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Philosophy   [1924  similar products]

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Readable, but Incomplete  Dec 2, 2006
Kevin Corcoran, in this monograph, presents a view of anthropology that tries to remain both materialistic and faithful to orthodox Christian beliefs. His view is the constitution view of anthropology where human persons are constituted by bodies without being identical to the bodies that constitute them. Corcoran begins his book by presenting his reasons for rejecting all forms of dualism: substance, thomistic, and emergent followed by his rejection of animism or "nothing-but materialism." He then gives his definition of the constitution view and defends it on ethical grounds by investigating beginning of life issues like stem cell research and human cloning. Lastly, he defends his view on theological grounds by discussing the resurrection and the coherence of the constitution view with the Biblical witness.

Corcoran avoids using detailed technical arguments in this book since it is intended for a wide audience. He makes his case with a flowing prose style that relies heavily on thought experiments and analogies. This is still heavy reading in that Corcoran does not avoid the philosophical issues involved in anthropology altogether, but he tackles them in a non-technical way.

This book, even given its limits, is still rather incomplete. His arguments against dualism could be more robust, and his biblical discussion is rather lacking in providing positive arguments for the constitution view. He does not pretend to be an exegete in this book, so the lack of a positive case might have been the author's intent. Likewise, he introduces the dualistic and animalistic views only as a way of placing his view in the discussion and showing why there should be an alternative.

Thus, given the scope, it may be unfair to call it incomplete, but there were too many times where Corcoran presupposes the reader's familiarity with earlier argumentation regarding the "stickier" identity issues involved in discussions of this kind. He does present his defenses of the constitution view in a nutshell, but often mentions that he has given reasons in other publications why certain arguments fail to defeat his view. Furthermore, it is unclear how his crucial concept of "immanent causal connections" between physical simples successfully guides the development of the human organism and at the same time fails to be something akin to an Aristotelian form and thus technically another dualistic anthropological view. He does not address this issue in the book.

Nonetheless, this book has its strengths in being quite readable and providing a faithful materialist anthropology for Christians. Corcoran tries hard to maintain his commitments to both materialism and orthodox beliefs (including the definition of Chalcedon and the Apostles' Creed). His solution to bring these two together invoke some interesting ideas that many people would find somewhat implausible. However, I suppose the same could be said of all Christian views on death and resurrection, so that is not a problem unique to Corcoran's view. This mediating position between dualism and materialism will stand under the scrutiny of both camps for opposite reasons, but in the eyes of this thomistic dualist (yes I'm biased) it is a step in the right direction for Christian materialists.

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