A literary trinity for cognitive science and religion

John A. Teske, Elizabethtown College


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. © 2010 by the Joint Publication Board of Zygon.