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Title: Mind, body and the philosophical theology of Donald M. MacKay
Author: Norman, D. A.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2004
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For D.M. MacKay, the notion of complementary descriptions was a very powerful though somewhat controversial logical tool. As a brain scientist with strong philosophical and religious interests, MacKay used this tool to bring together aspects of his thinking that others in his position often allow to remain disparate. His primary use of this tool was to understand the relationship between physiological brain descriptions on the one hand and the psychological and spiritual descriptions of cognitive psychology and theological anthropology on the other. He also argued, more broadly, for the complementary relationship between science and theology and, more narrowly, for the complementary relationship between deterministic ‘observer-only’ descriptions and libertarian ‘agent-oriented’ descriptions. He called this complementarity-based world view ‘Comprehensive Realism’. The research hypothesis of this thesis will be that Comprehensive Realism offers a way of dealing with the problem known in contemporary Anglo/American philosophy as ‘the mind/body problem’ that is fully compatible with evangelical Christian theology. In the first two chapters, we will introduce the mind/body problem as it has presented itself to the Christian Church throughout history with special attention to the modern philosophical debate as it progressed throughout D.M. MacKay’s career. In chapters three, four and five, we will discuss MacKay’s doctrine of logical complementarity and how he applied this concept to the mind/body problem and the closely related philosophical debate over freedom and determinism. Since contemporary debate over the mind/body problem among Christian philosophical theologians has centred around individuals eschatology, in chapters six and seven we will discuss MacKay’s limited treatment of the bodily resurrection and, in response to several theories that have been put forward since MacKay’s death, propose a more extended Comprehensive Realist account based upon the fundamental principles of MacKay’s philosophical theology.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available