More than a Brain: The Anti-Reductionist Anthropology of Reformational Philosophy

My research is about an anthropological approach that unifies the identity of the person with own body structures and the relationship with the natural world. The investigation goals of this research involve asking how I should think of ‘me’; if I should be identified as part of my physical being and, if so, which part; if mental states are reducible to brain states; how advances in neuroscience are related to categories of philosophy and theology. My hypothesis is that the philosophical systematic framework of Herman Dooyeweerd is a philosophical axis invaluable to promote a better understanding of who the human being is – in dialogue with contemporary science and theology. In this philosophical tradition, the spirit is not “ghost in machine”, i.e. something extra or above the body. On the other hand, it is not less than the totality of physicochemical processes in the brain and all over the body. It is a unity manifested through a dynamism proper of human development as a being of nature and consciousness. Through this reasoning, many thinkers of reformational philosophy can (1) honor the Christian tradition finding the heart as the spiritual center of the human, (2) develop a philosophical argument that goes beyond the human image of the “rational animal” and (3) maintain dialogue with the scientific community – specially the theistic evolution thought. Several thinkers today use the Dooyeweerd insights to build a bridge between religion and science without falling into reductionism such as scientism, naturalism or idealism. Researches like this are rare in Brazil. The project is to study at VU University at Abraham Kuyper Centre, and following the activities of Prof. Gerrit Glas. This is an opportunity for me to amplify this debate in my country and learn how to deal better with the interdisciplinary questions of science and religion.

Host University
Abraham Kuyper Center, Vrije Universiteit, Netherlands

Academic Sponsor
Prof Gerrit Glas

Autumn 2016 and Winter 2017