Concerning the conceptual foundations of Life in Philosophy, Theology and Sciences: The circulation principle of Pneuma

This project aims at the conceptual foundation of Life in Western Civilization in order to open a new perspective based in the relational essence of the living over its independence or operational reflexivity. We have already stressed the importance of the concept of Soul (Psyché) in determining Life as autarchy, but now we should study the other key notion of Spiritus (Pneuma), which moves around metaphysical, medical, biological, anthropological and theological discourses. Pneuma is a central biological concept in Aristotle, Hippocrates and Galen, in order to explain how the different parts of the organism are motioned by the soul; theologically, the Third Person of Trinity identifies with Pneuma, and it is the responsible of revitalizing both the World (as a Cosmic Organism) and the Church (as a living Body). We should study how this semantical displacements have place, but mainly we should underline how this concept accompany the concept of Psyché in its “economical-political” meaning: the regent principle of Psyché governs the living organism by this pneumatic agency, closing living beings to themselves and making difficult to think on the relational or communal essence of Life. Our last goal is to show the primacy of the prefix syn- over the prefix autos- in order to understand Life, and open a possible new biological, anthropological, ecological and theological paradigm based in communion over autonomy. Due to its interdisciplinary character, the project will be divided into two stages: a Term in the University of Bonn studying Jürgen Moltmann’s Pneumatological Theology, and a Term in the University of Oxford studying philosophical and biological implications of the notion of Pneuma.

Host Universities
Evangelisch-Theologische Fakultät der Universität Bonn, Germany
Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Oxford, UK

Academic Sponsors
Prof Cornelia Richter and Dr Ignacio Silva

Summer and Spring 2016