INDIVIDUALITY IN THEOLOGICAL ANTHROPOLOGY AND THEORIES OF EMBODIED COGNITION

with Fraser Watts, “Embodied Cognition and Religion”; John A. Teske, “From Embodied to Extended Cognition”; Daniel H. Weiss, “Embodied Cognition in Classical Rabbinic Literature”; Léon Turner, “Individuality in Theological Anthropology and Theories of Embodied Cognition”; and Warren S. Brown and Kevin S. Reimer, “Embodied Cognition, Character Formation, and Virtue.”

Authors

  • Léon Turner


Abstract

Contemporary theological anthropology is now almost united in its opposition toward concepts of the abstract individual. Instead there is a strong preference for concrete concepts, which locate individual human being in historically and socioculturally contingent contexts. In this paper I identify, and discuss in detail, three key themes that structure recent theological opposition to abstract concepts of the individual: (1) the idea that individual human beings are constituted in part by their relations with their environments, with other human beings, and with God; (2) the idea that individual human beings are unique entities; (3) the idea that individual human beings cannot be conceptualized in atemporal terms. Subsequently, I seek to demonstrate that theories of embodied cognition offer broad, if not unconditional, support for the concept of the concrete individual. As such, I suggest, theories of embodied cognition provide a valuable resource for dialogue between contemporary science and theological anthropology.

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