Global Perspectives on Science and Spirituality

Edited by Pranab Das

Gathering thinkers from ten countries and from a variety of scientific and spiritual backgrounds, Global Perspectives on Science and Spirituality leads readers on a fascinating tour of distinctly non-Western approaches to topics in these two fields. These voices add fresh and invigorating input to a dialogue that has thus far been predominantly guided by scholars from the United States or Western Europe.

The award-winning researchers represented in this volume were selected from a pool of over one hundred and fifty applications, and they offer the very best scholarship from underrepresented regions around the globe. The essays cover a wide spectrum of scientific fields, spanning mathematical physics, robotics, biosemiotics and other new schools of theoretical biology, embryonic stem cells, cognitive science, and the concept of opening the human mind to broader ideas of reality. Hailing from some of the top research institutions in India, Japan, Russia, Korea, China, and a variety of Eastern European nations, contributors offer unique insights into the spiritual and philosophical traditions of their cultures. At the same time, they also deftly engage concepts from the ongoing Western dialogue in its own terms, delving deeply, at times, into schools of thought like phenomenology or process thought.

Scholars, students, researchers, and anyone seeking new ways of understanding the interplay of spirituality and science will discover in these truly interdisciplinary essays a multitude of windows into previously underexplored areas of research. Indeed, any one of these pieces could serve as the basis for entirely new programs of long-term study.

Preface / vii

Introduction / ix
Pranab Das Elon University, United States

1. The Puzzle of Consciousness and Experiential Primacy: Agency in Cognitive Sciences and Spiritual Experiences / 3
Sangeetha Menon National Institute of Advanced Studies, India

2. Religion, Science, and Lebenswelt: New Interdisciplinary Crossroads / 21
Ilya Kasavin Institute of Philosophy, Russian Academy of Sciences, Russia

3. Science and Spirituality in Modern India / 39
Makarand Paranjape Jawaharlal Nehru University, India

4. Kokoro [Mind-Heart-Spirit]: Affirming Science and Religion in the Japanese Context / 55
Paul Swanson Nanzan Institute for Religion and Culture, Japan

5. Daoism and the Uncertainty Principle / 69
Jiang Sheng Shandong University, China

6. Whitehead Reconsidered from a Buddhist Perspective / 93
Ryusei Takeda Ryukoku University, Japan

7. Sanctity of Life: A Reflection on Human Embryonic Stem Cell Debates from an East Asian Perspective / 107
Heup Young Kim Kangnam University, South Korea

8. Aut Moses, Aut Darwin? / 125
A. Markoš, F. Grygar, L. Hajnal, K. Kleisner, Z. Kratochvíl, and Z. Neubauer Charles University, Czech Republic 

9. Human Origins: Continuous Evolution versus Punctual Creation / 143
Grzegorz Bugajak and Jacek Tomczyk Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University, Poland

10. Mathematics as a Formal Ontology: The Hermeneutical Dimensions of Natural Sciences and Eastern Patristics / 165
Alexei Chernyakov S t. Petersburg School of Religion and Philosophy, Russia

11. Is Mathematics Able to Open the Systems of the Human Intellect? / 179
Botond Gaál Debrecen Reformed Theological University, Hungary

12. On the Role of Transcendence in Science and in Religion / 191
Ladislav Kvasz Catholic University in Rozomberok, Slovakia

Contributors / 207

Index / 213