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A LITERARY TRINITY FOR COGNITIVE SCIENCE AND RELIGION

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Abstract.

The cognitive sciences may be understood to contribute to religion-and-science as a metadisciplinary discussion in ways that can be organized according to the three persons of narrative, encoding the themes of consciousness, relationality, and healing. First-person accounts are likely to be important to the understanding of consciousness, the “hard problem” of subjective experience, and contribute to a neurophenomenology of mind, even though we must be aware of their role in human suffering, their epistemic limits, and their indirect causal role in human behavior and subsequent experience. Second-person discussions are important for understanding the empathic and embodied relationality upon which an externalist account of mind is likely to depend, increasingly uncovered and supported by social neuroscience. Third-person accounts can be better understood in uncovering the us/them distinctions that they encode and healing the dangerous tribalisms that put an interdependent and communal world increasingly at risk.
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Keywords: causality; consciousness; embodiment; empathy; externalism; phenomenology; relationality; social neuroscience; subjectivity; tribalism

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Professor of psychology at Elizabethtown College, Elizabethtown, PA 17022;, Email: teskeja@etown.edu.

Publication date: 2010-06-01

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