Jack Collins presented a compelling argument for an “attribute” view of the image of God, that is, a view that the image of God means that we have attributes that are like God in some ways that animals aren’t. …
Jeff Schwartz presented a lively and controversial discussion of mindfulness. We all learned what it is, how it is being taken very seriously by modern psychiatrists of all stripes, and how the data shows that it involves distinct states of the brain that can be identified. In a nutshell, mindfulness has three parts:
Mike Egnor gave a talk full of brain science data in support of his position of Aristotelean dualism. He contrasted his position with Cartesian dualism, which has two distinct substances, one which is fully material and deterministic, and another which is spiritual and in another realm, which somehow interfaces with the brain. He argued Cartesian dualism actually just leads to materialism, as the spiritual substance gets ignored. By contrast, his view of Aristotelean dualism posits eternal “forms” associated with every material thing. For humans, the essence of this form is what we would call the spirit. I don’t fully understand this view, but here’s how I visualize it, using an example Mike brought up: a chair consists physically of atoms and molecules. If we destroy a chair, we do not destroy the atoms and molecules, that is, the material of the chair, but we destroy the “form” of the chair. What we call a chair is not the purely physical, but the particular pattern of organization of the chair. Going up one higher level, there is a general concept we may call “chairness” which transcends any individual chair. This general concept can exist, in Aristotle’s view, independent of any matter, just as one might argue the natural numbers 1, 2, 3, … “exist” whether or not I have one, two, or three actual things. At an even higher level, one could then argue that the unique nature of an individual person could exist at this level, independently of matter; in other words, not just the general concept of “person-ness,” but the essential and unique nature of “David Snoke-ness.” It’s an intriguing, and decidedly non-modern, way of thinking. (member access only)More.
See also: What Thomas Aquinas can teach modern neuroscientists (Barry Arrington)