Shared intentionality and divine persons : explorations in empirical psychology and ramified natural theology
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This article explores the intersection of two developing fields of study: the psychological field of shared intentionality and the philosophy of religion field of ramified natural theology. In shared intentionality, agents share mental states and cooperate to achieve a common goal. Many psychologists in this field believe that of all the primates, only humans share intentionality – humans alone form a ‘we’. Ramified natural theology is the project of presenting philosophical evidences for core doctrines of the Christian faith. In this article I investigate some applications of shared intentionality for Christian natural theology. In the Anselmian tradition I offer two deductive arguments that deploy shared intentionality to argue that there are multiple divine persons. I then suggest that analogical arguments – often overlooked by philosophers of religion – provide a better fit for psychological findings, such as shared intentionality. After sketching some fundamental features of analogical arguments, I advance two arguments by analogy for the conclusion that God, like humans, shares intentionality. These arguments show that the psychology of shared intentionality, and empirical psychology more generally, is a promising source for theological reflection.
Bray , D 2023 , ' Shared intentionality and divine persons : explorations in empirical psychology and ramified natural theology ' , Religious Studies . https://doi.org/10.1017/S0034412523000781
Copyright © The Author(s), 2023. Published by Cambridge University Press. This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided that no alterations are made and the original article is properly cited. The written permission of Cambridge University Press must be obtained prior to any commercial use and/or adaptation of the article.
DescriptionThis article is the result of a John Templeton Foundation fellowship for cross-training in the empirical sciences, awarded by the Society of Christian Philosophers.
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