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.
Table of Contents
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
The stimulating essays introduced here by Professor Das provide a welcome contrast to the plethora of works on science and religion dominated by Western presuppositions. Gifted contributors, variously indebted to Asian and Eastern European spiritual traditions, offer new ways of conceptualizing and addressing the deeper problems generated by modern science. Whether the puzzle is the nature of consciousness, physical indeterminacy, or the potency of mathematics, whether the sure grounding of bioethical principles or the persuasive articulation of a process philosophy, there is an engagement here that is enthusiastic and infectious.
The chapters are short and challenging enough to open up interesting discussion in a graduate-level course on science and faith. The book might also alert readers to present but less publicized questions for science and faith research.—Mark A. Strand
Debates about science and religion are on the rise, and spirituality, in the context of religion, is gaining attention as a source of fulfillment. Then again, in today's multicultural world, different geographic, historical, and traditional perspectives also enrich people's lives. This book is an effort to bring together the reflections of non-Western scholars from different national and cultural backgrounds. Each of the dozen brief essays throws light on a different aspect of science and spirituality—from consciousness and Daoism to evolution and mathematics—and each can be read independently of the others. Together they reveal the wealth of human heritage and remind readers that every group can learn something of value from every other group. The editor's introduction weaves all the strands together, and the book is a welcome addition to the literature on science and religion. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-level undergraduates and above. —V. V. Raman, emeritus, Rochester Institute of Technology