Item description for Body & Soul: Human Nature & the Crisis in Ethics by J. P. Moreland & Scott B. Rae...
Overview In this careful and thoughtful treatment J.P. Moreland and Scott B. Rae provide a reasonable and biblically accurate depiction of human personhood, relating it to crucial ethical concerns that affect each of us.
Publishers Description While most people throughout history have believed that we are both physical and spiritual beings, the rise of science has called into question the existence of the soul. Many now argue that neurophysiology demonstrates the radical dependence, indeed, identity, between mind and brain. Advances in genetics and in mapping human DNA, some say, show there is no need for the hypothesis of body-soul dualism. Even many Christian intellectuals have come to view the soul as a false Greek concept that is outdated and unbiblical.Concurrent with the demise of dualism has been the rise of advanced medical technologies that have brought to the fore difficult issues at both edges of life. Central to questions about abortion, fetal research, reproductive techologies, cloning and euthanasia is our understanding of the nature of human personhood, the reality of life after death and the value of ethical or religious knowledge as compared to scientific knowledge.In this careful treatment, J. P. Moreland and Scott B. Rae argue that the rise of these problems alongside the demise of Christian dualism is no coincidence. They therefore employ a theological realism to meet these pressing issues, and to present a reasonable and biblical depiction of human nature as it impinges upon critical ethical concerns.This vigorous philosophical and ethical defense of human nature as body and soul, regardless of whether one agrees or disagrees, will be for all a touchstone for debate and discussion for years to come.
From Publishers Weekly Advanced medical and scientific technologies constantly challenge the way in
which humankind perceives the connection between the physical body and the
spiritual soul. Historically, philosophers and theologians have relied on the
concept of substance dualism to explain the body/soul separation, but
contemporary intellectual trends have ranged more toward Christian materialism.
Sticking to tradition, professors Moreland and Rae (at Talbot School of
Theology and Biola University, respectively) defend substance dualism (of the
Thomistic, as opposed to the Cartesian, variety) and libertarian agency in this
weighty tome. The authors convincingly acknowledge opposing arguments and
philosophies while building a case of their own (e.g., that a human being is a
substance, not a property-thing). They frequently quote from scholarship in the
fields of ethics and religion, evaluating the body/soul dichotomy through the
use of mathematical theorems and real-life examples. Although the authors note
that they "have chosen to write the book at... a fairly high academic level,"
they also hope "a nonspecialist will be able to gain much." Only academics,
philosophers and ethicists will grasp the book's meatier arguments, although
skipping the metaphysical reflections of the first sections makes it slightly
more palatable. (Apr.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
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More About J. P. Moreland & Scott B. Rae
J. P. Moreland is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University. He has authored, edited, or contributed papers to thirty-five books, including Does God Exist?, Universals, Consciousness and the Existence of God, and The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology. Chad Meister is Professor of Philosophy at Bethel College. He is author or editor of fifteen books, including Evil: A Guide for the Perplexed, Introducing Philosophy of Religion, The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Religion, co-edited with Paul Copan, and God is Great, God is Good, co-edited with William Lane Craig. He is the general editor (with Paul Moser) of the forthcoming book series Cambridge Studies in Religion, Philosophy, and Society. Khaldoun A. Sweis is Chair of the World Languages and Cultures Department and Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Olive-Harvey College. His publications include articles in Think: A Journal of the Royal Institute of Philosophy, The Journal of the International Society of Christian Apologetics, and he is co-editor (with Chad Meister) of Christian Apologetics: An Anthology of Primary Sources.
J. P. Moreland has an academic affiliation as follows - Talbot School of Theology. La Mirada Talbot School of Theology, La Mir.
J. P. Moreland has published or released items in the following series...
Reviews - What do customers think about Body & Soul: Human Nature & the Crisis in Ethics?
Substance Versus Property Things Aug 31, 2007
This book was the primary textbook for a 400 level philosophy class which I took in my undergrad work entitled, Biblical Personhood. Basically what that means is that my professor expected his students to have a decent background in lower level philosophy, which is needed in order to really understand any of the topics in this book. Dr. Rapinchuk said he had read it three times over the summer b/f he taught it and he still discovered things he had not seen b/f during our class. That said, although it is difficult, it is an incredible book.
Moreland and Rae have done an incredible job in putting this book together in a logical order, starting by explaining the difference between substances (living things) and property things (material objects without life). They then discuss differing views on human personhood, and go very in depth on substance dualism. They discuss the two forms of substance dualism, Cartesian and Thomistic, and go to great lengths to explain why they believe that Thomistic is the best. At the end of the book, they take what they have taught and apply it to real world issues, like abortion, stem cell research and the like.
This is most certainly the thinking man's book. For mental exercise, there is nothing like J.P. Moreland's philosophy. This book is very beneficial in solidifying what one believes about what it means to be a person. I believe that the revelations in this book will open your eyes and cause you to view yourself and others in a completely new light. I can almost guarantee that your relationships with others may never be the same. Body and Soul is so worth the trouble it takes to understand.
Theological/Philosophical Argument for Thomistic Dualism Apr 12, 2007
The authors contend in most of the book (228 of 345 pages) on an academic basis (primarily philosophical) for the personhood at conception with a soul is the substance determining the development of the human. This counters the physicalist view which sees the human as only a property-thing, only composed of the material components.
This belabored academic section takes on the opposition where it must, but for those of us not daily engaged in such philosophical vocabulary, it does get tiresome.
It shifts to brief application in front page newspaper issues of unborn, euthanasia, reproductive technologies, etc. These bioethics issues are then shown to be intelligently compatible and informed by their Thomistic view of dualism. This as many other reviewers have noted is the fine contribution of the book for many of us, although we appreciate their fine work as well engaging in the academic circles behind the scenes for the rest of us.
Interested might also take a gander at Meilaender's "Bioethics: Primer for Christians" and Kass' "Life, Liberty and the Defense of Diginity."
Does the loss of belief in the soul lead to the devaluing of human life? Jun 15, 2006
While most people throughout history have believed that we are both physical and spiritual beings, the rise of science has called the existence of the soul into question. Many argue that neurophysiology demonstrates the radical dependence, indeed, identity between mind and brain. Advances in genetics and in mapping DNA, some say, show there is no need for the hypothesis of body-soul dualism. Even many Christian intellectuals have come to view the soul as a false Greek concept that is outdated.
Concurrent with the demise of dualism has been the rise of advanced medical technologies that have brought to the fore difficult issues at both edges of life. Central to questions about abortion, fetal research, reproductive technologies, cloning and euthanasia is our understanding of the nature of human personhood, the reality of life after death and the value of ethical or religious knowledge as compared to scientific knowledge.
In this careful treatment, J.P. Moreland and Scott B. Rae argue that the rise of these problems alongside the demise of Christian dualism is no coincidence. Employing theological realism to present a reasonable and biblical depiction of human nature as body and soul, the authors go on to show how such a view impinges on critical ethical concerns.
Exellent Understanding of Thomistic Substance Dualism Oct 20, 2004
I received this book from my girlfriend to better understand Christian rational for the existence of a `soul' in human beings. In `Body & Soul' J.P. Moreland does a wonderful job explaining the body as a substance versus a property thing. The book is divided into 2 Parts. The first part of the book (about 2/3rds of the actual text) basically goes through the theoretical/metaphysical/scientific explanations for determining `personhood'. In the last third of the book (Part 2), Moreland delves into current ethical issues that play a role in a person's view of `personhood' whether they follow a substance dualist position or a physicalists/genetic determinist position. I found this area of the book to be the most likeable for those that aren't used to the university level writing - with every other word either being an `ism' or an `ology'. I didn't have a problem with this, but I can certainly see people whom may not have such an extensive vocabulary may find Part 1 difficult to read. But really, the only difficulties I can see, would be to understand what all the `isms' and ology's really are - so it would be extremely useful to keep a dictionary hand and write down the definitions for the various terminologies once an uncertain word first appears. Being a human geography student, I am quite familiar with this technical writing style, and I think by following the above is the best way to get the most out of this book.
Moreland definitely deserves credit for his extensive research in this book. A lot of references and endnotes further explaining and elaborating on key areas were very useful to me. Moreland obviously has a lot of respect for his counterparts in what is seemed as a fragile and tense area of ethics. He includes numerous citations by popular feminists, ethicists, scientists and philosophers alike that clearly reject Moreland's view of person as a substance thing. I found that the majority of the book tends to view the definition of a human `person' as a dichotomy between:
1. `Self' as Body/Genes (Physicalism/Genetic Determinism and Reductionism) 2. `Self' as Immaterial Soul (Substance Dualism)
Though I find nothing wrong with his understandings and realizations for such a structure of ontology, I believe Moreland left out another categorization that defines `personhood'. That being:
3. `Self as Socially Produced' (Social Constructionism)
This is the view of the person as described by Michael Foucault and Jacques Derrida. Im a away, this view can be classified under #1 (Self and Body/Genes) because Foucault does state the `person without the body is nothing', but everywhere else he gives reason for viewing the `person' as a social construction. Although I do question many of Foucault's and Derrida's assertions, I think their view of the `person' could have been addressed in the book as well. But then again, this book was already quite thick. Maybe Moreland can go into his analysis of social constructionism in another future book. (I did find Moreland went into a bit of social constructionism in chapter 9 (Genetic Technologies and Human Cloning).
Overall, I think this book was an amazing read. Some of his insights really challenged my conventional understandings of what constitutes a person, and how we being an immaterial soul really may not be that far fetched after all.
Scholarly Sep 30, 2004
Throughout Human History most people have believed that we are both physical and spiritual beings, that in fact the immaterial part of us can live on even when separated from our bodies by death. The rise of science, however, has called into question the existence of the soul. Concurrent with the demise of dualism has been the rise of advanced medical technologies that have brought to the fore difficult issues at both edges of life.
In this careful and thoughtful treatment J. P. Moreland and Scott B. Rae argue that the rise of these problems alongside the demise of Christian dualism is no coincidence. They therefore employ a theological realism to meet these pressing issues and to present a reasonable and biblically accurate depiction of human nature.