This project will tackle one of the most important big questions about human nature: how to reconcile contemporary scientific assumptions about the physical nature of human beings with traditional religious assumptions about the importance of mind, soul and inner life. Specific activities of this project include: (i) a comprehensive analytical review of current approaches to embodied cognition in psychology and the philosophy of mind; (ii) the exploration of the relative contributions that embodied cognition research can make both to the dialogues between the sciences and religious accounts of human nature, and to interfaith dialogue; (iii) the staging of a major international conference on embodied cognition and religious thought. Concrete outputs include: (i) an original book on embodied cognition and religious concepts of human nature; (ii) a comprehensive analytical review of current approaches to embodied cognition in psychology and the philosophy of mind; (iii) an article on embodied cognition and Jewish thought; (iv) an article on the potential of embodied cognition research to facilitate interfaith dialogue; (v) a special issue of a journal devoted to embodied cognition and religious concepts of human nature; (vi) several conference papers on embodied cognition and religious thought; (vii) two popular articles on the project's major themes. The primary aims of the project are (i) to transform the dialogue between scientific and religious concepts of human nature by refocusing it upon concepts of embodied mind; (ii) to advance embodied cognition research as a means of facilitating interfaith dialogue about human nature. This will be the first systematic attempt to explore embodied cognition approaches to human nature in dialogue with Judeo-Christian thought, and in relation to interfaith studies. We expect this project to inspire much further research and, in the longer term, to dominate thinking about human nature in science and religion.
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