We propose a one year planning grant to collect the information, expertise, contacts, and background to develop a multi-year project, “Narrative Conceptions of the Self in Psychology, Philosophy, and Theology.” The primary goal of our larger project will be to examine narrative-based conceptions of the self (NCs) with particular attention to their viability as theses about the metaphysics of personhood and their implications for important issues in theological anthropology (e.g., the doctrine of sin, the imago Dei, and spiritual transformation). NCs maintain that the self or various essential aspects of the self are somehow built up, unified, or otherwise dependent upon narratives generated by the brain and shaped, at least in part, by one’s peers, culture, or social context. Despite their considerable influence in personality, clinical, developmental, and, to a lesser extent, social and cognitive psychology, NCs have received relatively little attention from analytic metaphysicians working on personal identity and the nature of human persons, nor have their implications for theological anthropology been carefully explored. Such exploration demands philosophical and theological engagement with recent empirical work on NCs in psychology and cognitive neuroscience, and this planning grant will position us to do so fruitfully.
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