Saturday, July 26, 2008

All is Quiet

Today I leave for Innsbruck, Austria for a week. I'll be delivering a paper at the How Do We Survive Our Death: Personal Identity and Resurrection international conference. Here's what I have to look forward to greeting me Sunday morning, as I pull into Innsbruck:

My contribution to the conference, a paper titled Constitution, Resurrection and Relationality, presents the Constitution View of human persons, which I've been talking about for the past ten years, and most recently in Rethinking Human Nature. In the paper I situate the view as a materialist alternative to dualist views, on the one hand, and reductionistic versions of materialism, on the other. I then address a theological criticism of the view to the effect that my account of human personhood doesn't take the fundamentally relational nature of human persons seriously, and in fact contributes to social isolation and a sort of introspective atomism. I show how relationality is actually essential to human personhood on the constitution view and I try to demonstrate that human persons are always--from the beginning of the Christian narrative to its very end--persons-in-relation. So relationality is not just compatible with the Constitution View, and not simply congenial to it, it is in important respects essential to the view. I also sugest that if we are to survive death, either in the sense of immediate survival or resurrection from the dead, then these very bodies must survive or be raised. If you're interested, the paper will appear along with the other papers being presented (including papers by Dean Zimmerman, Hud Hudson, Eric Olson and Stephen Davis--the rest of the U.S. contingent) in a forthcoming volume on the same topic.

All of that to say--things will be a little quieter than usual around H-SAB over the next week. I do aim however to queue up a post to appear while I'm gone, and I hope you find it interesting and have some thoughts on the subject it addresses.

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