Chapter

Introduction: Rethinking Science and Religion

James D. Proctor

in Science, Religion, and the Human Experience

Published in print May 2005 | ISBN: 9780195175325
Published online February 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780199784707 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195175328.003.0002
 						Introduction: Rethinking Science and Religion

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This essay offers a novel take on science and religion by reconsidering both in light of the human experience — the unfolding of human life in its historical, political, geographical, psychological, and other contexts. Proctor rejects monism and dualism in typical accounts of the relationship between science and religion by bringing in human experience as a “third body,” an equal partner akin to Poincaré’s formulation of the three-body problem in celestial mechanics. He then summarizes each chapter in the volume, organized into four main sections of Theory, Cosmos, Life, and Mind. Proctor notes a recurrent thread in these essays — signaled by terms including relationality, complementarity, intersubjectivity, and ultimately experience — that emphasizes relations over things, and (similar to Whitehead’s critique of the bifurcation of nature) rejects a dualism between object and subject and related binaries (e.g., fact versus value, matter vs. spirit) as well as the desire for some monistic resolution. This new dynamic sense of science and religion is perhaps best approached with a tolerance for contradiction as expressed in the notion of paradox.

Keywords: dualism; experience; monism; paradox; Poincaré; relationality; religion; science; Whitehead

Chapter.  9387 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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