Neuroscientific Naturalism as the New Expression of Modern Gnosticism

The problem I want to investigate is the relationship between the neuroscientific naturalism and Gnosticism. This proposal is based on the faith and expectations placed on neuroscience in the last decades, and the corresponding increase in believing that the brain is the only organ in the body that we need to be ourselves. This phenomenon is both detected in the scientific community and in public opinion. In fact, for some high-profiled contemporary intellectuals, neuroscience could provide the keys to a radical and ultimate transformation of our world.
This conception, which could be defined as neuroscientific naturalism and it is offered as the best substitute of religion, might be studied under the category of Gnosis. This category could be classified as transhistorical because of two main reasons: 1) it refers to the complex historical tension between transcendence and immanence; 2) it has a particular relevance for a more complete explanation of the modern secularization process, at the top of which neurocientific naturalism lies. I will develop this research considering the ideas of Aldous Huxley, Karl Löwith, but mainly of Eric Voegelin. Thus, I intend to investigate the hypothesis that postulates the existence of a clear correlation between political ideologies and neuroscientific naturalism regarding their Gnostic dimension. This means that neuroscientific naturalism has the same structure as political ideologies with respect to their expectations and purposes.

Host University
Department of Theology and Religious Studies, University of Nottingham, UK

Academic Sponsor
Prof John Milbank

Winter and Spring 2016