Large Seminar Room, Rutgers Philosophy Department (106 Somerset St., 5th Floor, New Brunswick)
A lecture by Dr. Daniel De Haan (Cambridge University)
This event is co-sponsored by The Rutgers Center for the Philosophy of Religion
Free and open to the public
Is the existence of the soul compatible with the discoveries of neuroscience? It depends on whose conception of the soul, and which discoveries in neuroscience one has in mind. Cartesians maintain that souls are non-physical minds. Aristotelians hold that souls are the animating forms of bodies. The challenges neuroscience poses to Cartesian souls tend to get the limelight, but do the discoveries from neuropsychology and cognitive neuroscience pose problems for Aristotelian souls? I argue they do not. In order to establish the compatibility of these discoveries with Aristotelian souls, I draw on recent research from the new mechanistic philosophy of neuroscience and psychology to help articulate a contemporary Aristotelian account of the human person as a “hylomorphically” ensouled body. I then show how this understanding of Aristotelian souls is not in conflict with studies of brain lesions, neurodegenerative diseases like dementia, Jennifer Aniston neurons, or neuroimaging.
Daniel D. De Haan (University of Cambridge) is a research fellow in the Faculty of Divinity and Department of Psychology at the University of Cambridge. He received his PhD in 2014 from the University of St. Thomas, TX and the Catholic University of Leuven. Daniel’s research in the history of philosophy focuses on the metaphysics and psychology of Avicenna and Aquinas. His research in contemporary philosophy addresses the intersections of philosophical anthropology, philosophy of neuroscience and psychology, and philosophy of religion. He is currently writing a monograph on Aristotelian philosophical anthropology.