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Changing conceptions of the human person

JAMES ADAMS

As Tom Banchoff and Abdulaziz Sachedina noted in their previous post, the Science and the Human Person working group aims to advance a global interreligious and intercultural conversation about science, technology, and the human future.

At the core of this conversation lies the issue of how the human person has been conceptualized and understood across different religious and cultural traditions throughout history, and the role that the scientific and philosophical developments associated with modernity have played in challenging established conceptions of the human person.

In the coming weeks, the members of the Science and the Human Person working group will begin to address these issues through a series of short essays that respond to a number of foundational questions. What is the human person? How are advances in science, technology, and neuroscience challenging established conceptions of the human person? Are religious traditions in a position to engage modern science to achieve common terms of conversation in these debates about the new personhood? Is consensus about these issues, among different religions and across religious and secular lines, possible or desirable?

Such questions have implications not only for the field of bioethics, but also in defining and shaping the way that scientific developments are understood and responded to by religious and secular communities and individuals around the world.

James Adams is Editor of the Contending Modernities blog, and Research Associate for Contending Modernities, based at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies.

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