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The Latest on the Nexus between Science and Religion
by Dr. Emanuel Paparella
2009-02-13 09:19:15
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Subjectivity, Objectivity, and Intersubjectivity: A New Paradigm for Religion and Science
Written by Joseph A. Bracken
2009, Templeton Foundation Press

What follows is a concise presentation of a book just out and a short bio of its author, as found in the pages of the on-line journal Global Spiral (a scholarly interdisciplinary publication to which I contribute philosophical articles and a weekly column on the EU). It’s an exciting read beyond clichés and caricatures pointing to the ongoing extraordinary post-modern convergence between science and religion. Indeed the old grudge and enmity between science and religion seem to be melting away. I’d like to share the news with the Ovi readership.

* * * * *

During the Middle Ages, philosophers and theologians argued over the extra-mental reality of universal forms or essences. In the early modern period, the relation between subjectivity and objectivity, the individual self and knowledge of the outside world, was a rich subject of debate. Today, there is considerable argument about the relation between spontaneity and determinism within the evolutionary process, whether a principle of spontaneous self-organization as well as natural selection is at work in the aggregation of molecules into cells and the development of primitive forms of life into complex organisms.

In Subjectivity, Objectivity and Inter-subjectivity Joseph A. Bracken proposes that what is ultimately at stake here is the age-old problem of the relationship between the One and the Many, universality and particularity on different levels of existence and activity within nature.

Bracken rejects traditional models of this relationship, wherein either the One or the Many is presupposed to have priority over the other. He instead suggests that a new social ontology—one that is grounded in a theory of universal inters-subjectivity—protects both the concrete particularity of individual entities in their specific relations to one another and their enduring corporate reality as a stable community or environment within Nature.

What emerges is a bold re-imagining of the sometimes strained relationship between religion and science. Bracken's clear writing, sophisticated philosophical analysis, and exemplary scholarship will lend this new work an enthusiastic appreciation by readers with deep interests in philosophy and philosophical theology.


•    Provides an overview of Western philosophy from Plato and Aristotle to the present
•    Offers a plausible explanation for the emergence of novelty with a cosmic process determined by natural law
•    Identifies a new way to allow for divine providence over the world without direct divine intervention

A New Paradigm for Religion and Science

Joseph A. Bracken, SJ
Forward by William Stoeger
March 2009, 5 ½ x 8 ½ , 248 pages


Joseph A. Bracken, S.J., is a retired professor of theology and director emeritus of the Edward B. Brueggeman Center for Dialogue at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio, and is the author of seven books and editor or co-editor of two other works in the area of philosophical theology. His focus in recent years has been on the God-world relationship both as it figures in the religion and science debate and in interreligious dialogue. He is a long-time student of the philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead but has modified it in some measure so as to make it more compatible with traditional Christian beliefs such as creation out of nothing, the doctrine of the Trinity, and eschatology.

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