Metanexus: Subject, Self, and Soul: Transdisciplinary Approaches to Personhood

Nancey Murphy: "Nonreductive Physicalism and Free Will"

The major focus of this paper is the most difficult aspect of distinguishing nonreductive from reductive physicalism, that of free will. While a full treatment of free will will not be provided, it shall be argued, first, that there is no such thing as the free-will problem; it is an anachronistic reading of philosophical history to assume that there is a single problem. What many of the individual free-will problems do have in common is the opposition of free-will to determinism--of some sort or another. The sort of determinism that is of a particular interest to physicalists is neurobiological determinism. Next it will be argued that neurobiological determinism is only a worry if neurobiological reductionism is true. The latter is decidedly not true.

2008 July 16

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Metanexus: Subject, Self, and Soul: Transdisciplinary Approaches to Personhood

Metanexus Institute

The Metanexus 2008 conference was held July 13-16 in Madrid, Spain. The theme was "Subject, Self, and Soul."

MIHI QUAESTIO FACTUS SUM (I have become a question to myself.) Augustini Confessiones (liber X, caput xxxiii)

Who are we? Why are we…


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The Metanexus 2008 conference was held July 13-16 in Madrid, Spain. The theme was "Subject, Self, and Soul."

MIHI QUAESTIO FACTUS SUM (I have become a question to myself.) Augustini Confessiones (liber X, caput xxxiii)

Who are we? Why are we here? In our age, it is science that purports to answer these ancient questions, while technology promises to make us even “more than human.” But despite our amazing scientific discoveries and technological powers, are we not still “a question to ourselves?” And what new questions about ourselves have been raised in our own times?

If we are truly to understand ourselves, our place in the cosmos, and our relation to each other and to the divine, we must adopt rich transdisciplinary approaches that cut across fields of knowledge, institutional boundaries, cultural borders, and religious traditions.

At the 9th annual Metanexus Conference philosophers, biologists, physicists, cosmologists, neuroscientists, cognitive scientists, theologians, religious scholars and community leaders, historians and educators discussed these and other profound questions of what it means to be a person in a rapidly evolving and complex world.

Among the attendees were more than 200 representatives of the Metanexus Global Network of multidisciplinary Local Societies from over 40 countries.

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