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INTRODUCTION: TOWARD A METAPHYSIC OF MEANING

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Abstract:

Abstract.

We introduce a two-part collection of articles (Part 2 to appear in the September 2010 issue) exploring a possible new research program in the field of science and religion. At the center of the program lies an attempt to develop a new theology of nature drawing on the philosophy of C. S. Peirce. Our overall idea is that the fundamental structure of the world is exactly that required for the emergence of meaning and truth-bearing representation. We understand the emergence of a capacity to interpret an environment to be important to the emergence of life, and we see the subsequent history of biological evolution as a story of increasing capacities for meaning making and meaning seeking. Theologically, we understand God to be the ground of all such meaning making and the ultimate goal of the universe's emerging capacity for interpreting signs. Here we explain our reasons for seeking a new metaphysical framework in which science and theology may each find a home. We survey the contributions to the two-part collection, and we suggest that the interdisciplinary collaboration from which these have arisen may serve as a methodological model for the field of science and religion.

Keywords: C. S. Peirce; interpretation; meaning; metaphysics; research program; science and religion; semiotics

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9744.2010.01084.x

Affiliations: Hon. University Fellows in the Department of Theology, University of Exeter.

Publication date: June 1, 2010

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