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Ivana Anton Mlinar

“Neuroscientific Models of Subjectivity in Check: The Case of Terminal Lucidity”

Does a self exist? What relationship does it have with conscious life and its neuropsychiatric disorders and mechanisms?
The notion of self becomes indeed essential to understand consciousness in its subjectivity and self-identity. Considering the embodied and embedded condition of the self, neuropsychiatric pathologies seem to alter subjectivity and reflect its fragility. However, a minimal self seems to endure, what means that the core of subjectivity remains despite both neurological and psychiatric disorders.
Another challenge for an embodied and interdisciplinary perspective of the self lies in the case of terminal lucidity. The unexpected return of mental clarity and memory shortly before death in patients suffering from severe psychiatric and neurologic disorders is a frequently reported but rare or almost not studied phenomenon. Terminal lucidity has been reported in the medical literature over the past 250 years in patients suffering from brain abscesses, tumors, strokes, meningitis, dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia, and affective disorders.
The recovering of lost memory, cognitive functions and self-identity with a deteriorated brain raises some challenges like:
-The neuroscience of terminal states may be more complex than traditionally thought.
-Seemingly irreversible lost cognitive functions can be somehow regained. More neurologic studies are needed in terminal states.
-How memory and cognitive contents are retained when self-identity and cognitive abilities were lost to be later brought back when the abilities are recovered.
-Subjectivity may have different “mechanisms” to endure and to manifest than the usually assigned by neuroscientific models of normal brains.

Guillermo Barber Soler

“Human and divine creativity: a dialogue between philosophy, sciences and religion”

Throughout history, the question of creativity has been one of the most relevant, complex and mysterious problems of human culture, although it has never been an easy one. From myths and theology, to philosophy and empirical sciences, a wide range of disciplines see this as an issue fraught with problems and difficulties, that may even increase when considered from an interdisciplinary perspective. Science tries to understand the way humans create new instruments, new pieces of arts, new customs and institutions; even the problem of evolution has the question of natural creativity involved. Philosophy, on the other hand, is mainly interested in the ontological meaning of the novelty, and the questions it raises to the subject of causality. Concerning humans, creativity is directly related to free will, and to the possibility of humans to forge their own future. Western religions (and theology with it) interprets creativity as one of the main characteristics of God as creator; and, in consequence, as an essential feature of human being as imago Dei. But, does “creativity” mean the same to each of these disciplines? Are they talking about the same phenomenon? Can we build some solid conceptual bridges between those realms? The aim of this paper is, then, to consider these several and different approaches to the matter of creativity in search for possible convergence points, from which to contribute to the dialogue between science, philosophy and religion..

María Beer Buco

“A Critical Engagement with Thomas Nagel’s Mind and Cosmos (2012)”

The aim of this paper is to critically engage with Thomas Nagel’s book Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature is Almost Certainly False (2012). In this book Nagel shows in a very original way the limits of a materialist Neo- Darwinian worldview when it comes to explain the relation between us and the cosmos. The place we occupy in the world is so distinct, that although we are partly a product of its evolution, features such as consciousness, cognition and value, cannot be understood only in the mechanistic ways by which organic matter is explained. In this regard, Nagel not only intends to show that the person is irreducible to the cosmos materialistically conceived, but that the whole way we understand the world, as being driven ultimately by purely physical laws, should be revised. Basic principles other than mechanistic, which in its basic forms can be teleological, should not be arbitrary disregarded if an extended explanation of the person-and-cosmos relation is to be achieved. Therefore, I will engage first with the limits of materialism, and then with the possible alternatives that can complement the existing worldview. As a result, an expanded conception of the relation between persons and cosmos would be presented.

Francisco de Assis Mariano

“Theism and inductive reasoning beyond the big bang”

The aim of this paper is to reformulate the Kalam Cosmological Argument (KCA) as a probabilistic argument for theism based on an inference to the best explanation. First, I will review the KCA and the structure of the probabilistic arguments for theism. Second, by following this structure, I will define the theistic hypothesis as a personal and metaphysical explanation, the atheistic hypothesis as a scientific or naturalistic explanation, and the beginning of the universe as the evidence or phenomena to be explained. Third, I will argue that the theistic hypothesis passes through all of the inductive criteria for being the best explanation: simplicity, explanatory power, and background knowledge. Finally, I will argue that the beginning of the universe actually renders the a posteriori probability of theism as being greater than its negation (the a posteriori probability of atheism).