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Body & Soul: Human Nature & the Crisis in Ethics Paperback – April 24, 2000
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"It's about time someone wrote this book. The reality of the soul is not an airy speculation with no importance but in fact that makes a profound difference to every department of human life. Unfortunately, physicalism--the view that the body, but not the soul, is real--has long been gaining ground with hardly a word of protest from Christian thinkers. Some have even taken up the physicalist banner themselves. Not so Moreland and Rae, who demonstrate in Body & Soul that physicalism is philosophically and theologically defective, and unworthy of belief. This impressive treatise is not only a metaphysical tour-de-force but a guide to the most vexing ethical controversies of our time: abortion, fetal research, reproductive and genetic technologies, cloning, euthanasia and assisted suicide. I recommend Body & Soul as an indispensable resource for students, physicians, philosophers, theologians, policy-makers and all who are serious about the great issues of the day." (J. Budziszewski, Depts. Of Government and Philosophy, University of Texas at Austin, author of Written on the Heart: The Case for Natural Law and The Revenge of Conscience: Politics and the Fall of Man)
"In a parched philosophical landscape dominated by reductive materialism, Body & Soul by J.P. Moreland and Scott B. Rae is heaven-sent rain. This is the most powerful and persuasive case for substance dualism that I know. But it's much more than that. In addition to its cogent metaphysical psychology, Body & Soul develops--in a unique and impressively rigorous way--the moral implications of the view that the human spirit is irreducibly real. No one interested in the philosophy of mind or in contemporary bioethics can afford to miss this trenchant and timely book." (Ronald K. Tacelli SJ, Boston College)
"Here at last is a book with sufficient theoretical thinking to satisfy the scholar as well as enough everyday ethics to satisfy the rest. All biblically based Christians (not to mention others) will not agree with every bioethical conclusion reached here, but all will be challenged and edified by it in many ways. It will be a book to be reckoned with for many years to come." (John F. Kilner, Ph. D., director of The Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity)
"Moreland and Rae have produced an engaging study in Christian metaphysics. They marry an appreciation of Thomas Aquinas with biblical studies in the service of reexploring bioethical issues from abortion to euthanasia. For better understanding of the deep devisions in our debates on these issues, this volume provides an important key." (H. Tristram Engelhardt Jr., Ph.D., M.D., Professor, Baylor College of Medicine)
"The critical foundational issues underlying every ethical battle is personhood. Without a clear and communicable understanding of that issue, the battle is lost. That is why Body & Soul is to the ethical war what the atomic bomb was to World War II. This book is long overdue and essential reading." (Dave Stevens, M.D., Christian Medical and Dental Society)
"J.P. Moreland and Scott Rae challenge the conventional wisdom and give a spirited defense of this form of dualism. Their work deserves the attention of every serious student of this topic." (John Jefferson Davis, Professor of Systematic Theology, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary)
"It is very good to see a version of dualism (constant with Christian tradition) not merely developed and defended but applied to most of the central issues of medical ethics which are pressing today--such as abortion, cloning, use of fetal tissue and physician-assisted suicide. The authors show convincingly how many of their views about medical ethics follow directly from their version of dualism." (Richard Swinburne, professor of philosophy of religion, Oxford University)
"Body & Soul is a quality piece of philosophical work. The authors certainly have done their homework, are familiar with the literature and know their way around an argument. . . . I welcome a book that is truly first-rate philosophically and uses arguments with rigor and care." (C. Stephen Evans, professor of philosophy, Calvin College)
About the Author
Scott B. Rae (Ph.D., University of Southern California) is professor of biblical studies and Christian ethics at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University, in La Mirada, California. He is also the author of Embryo Research and Experimentation (Crossroads) and Brave New Families: Biblical Ethics and Reproductive Technologies (Baker).
Top Customer Reviews
Part two takes the arguments for substance dualism and demonstrates the logical implications substance dualism has regarding abortion, euthanasia, human cloning, etc.
The book is crucially important for anyone thinking through the bioethics of these issues.
As important and fascinating as the book is, there are some weakneses. The first thing that will strike the reader is that part one (Moreland) is far more difficult reading than part two (Rae).
Basically, part one assumes a more advanced philosophical background of the reader. This is not to say that a reasonably intelligent person with little background in philosophy cannot benefit, but it will take some work, re-reading certain paragraphs a few times, etc.
I think it would be a worthwhile assignment for Mr. Moreland to rewrite part one to get the hay down out of the loft, so us cows can get to it:-) Part one would also flow better into part two as a result.
It's interesting to note that Moreland, in a lecture I attended, did lay out the basic themes of the book in more user friendly language. I think his position is well articulated in the book, book it would be of greater benefit to many more if he would put out a version more like his lecture.
By the way, here is a VERY important piece of advice: The average reader will follow Moreland's reasoning MUCH better if you get a hold of his lectures on the same subject, or at least get a copy of a taped radio program in which he discussed the book (The web site for STAND TO REASON).Read more ›
The authors' intended audience:
"We have chosen to write the book at what we consider to be a fairly high academic level because we are convinced the view of a human person we affirm must be articulated and defended at that level for it to gain a hearing both within the Christian community and in the secular academic setting. Still, we hope a nonspecialist will be able to gain much from the pages that follow." (page 14)
There are one or two sections in the book that defend the existence of an immaterial soul from the Bible (against those Christian thinkers who deny it) however; this book is not primarily an explanation/analysis of Scripture. As the authors themselves state, 'In this work we have attempted to make a case for the view of a human person that is both consistent with biblical teaching and that makes philosophical sense.' (page 343)
To skeptics of the existence of the soul, to those who would argue that science has rendered the concept false, to those who argue that the concept of the immaterial soul is a foreign Greek concept that has nothing to do with the Bible, read this book. Moreland and Rae present a very strong case for the soul (their particular version of this: Thomistic substance dualism), they refute or significantly weaken most of the commonly offered critiques of their view and refute or critique the views that compete against theirs.
There are 521 footnotes spread over 345 pages of text; averaging roughly 50 footnotes per chapter. I really liked this aspect of the book; the authors would frequently refer to other relevant literature and refer the reader to investigate it if interested.Read more ›
The Thomistic view of the soul is, in my mind, more advanced and more cogent than the Cartesian view of the soul. It differentiates between spirit/soul and mind, presenting the latter as a faculty of the soul and not it's very essence. It provides a better explanation of the mind-body (or soul-body) problem by asserting that the soul is the teleological foundation of the formation of the body (i.e., the soul directs the growth and development of the body). Further, this view emphasizes the need for a working brain that can also affect the spirit/mind for cognitive occurrences (this point is argued more vigorously in works outside of _Body and Soul_ by other authors, though Moreland hints at it in this work).
The only disappointment for me was Moreland's insistence on critiquing the reductionistic class of materialism. For me, personally, the reductionists have too many theoretical problems to be a viable solution. I would have enjoyed a further critique of the emergent view of mind that is quickly becoming more prominent in scientific circles (Robert Nadeau, one of the reductionists that Moreland cites, has altered his conceptions towards this view; see _The Non-Local Universe: The New Physics and Matters of the Mind_).Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It’s hard to put the book’s importance into words, which makes writing this review rather difficult. One has to start somewhere, I suppose. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Jacob
I thank the author for writing this book. It is great for the classroom setting in that it teaches in a most basic and understandable manner. The author is commended.Published on September 22, 2013 by Pamela Goodman
Moreland writes with reasoned precision and clarity.This is a thought provoking ...extremely insightful and well written book. I highly recommend it!Published on March 30, 2013 by Charis
Evidently J.P Moreland was not writing this for regular folks like me, but yeah, I tried and i think I have walk away with something. Read morePublished on February 19, 2011 by John
The common belief that Darwinian evolution provides a complete materialistic explanation of human beings has led to the idea of the soul being completely dismissed in our culture. Read morePublished on February 10, 2011 by Randy A. Stadt
I had to read this book for my Metaphysics class.
This book will stretch you. Moreland wrote the first section of the book and it is by far one of the hardest read I... Read more
This book is presumably addressed mainly to Christians who want to hold a philosophically valid view of the body-soul relationship that is compatible with biblical revelation, and... Read morePublished on January 25, 2010 by Peter Clarke
Original review: This book written by JP Moreland and Scott Rae presents an excellent overview of substance dualism. It is essentially the philosophy of St. Read morePublished on January 18, 2010 by Alfredo Watkins
This book was the primary textbook for a 400 level philosophy class which I took in my undergrad work entitled, Biblical Personhood. Read morePublished on August 30, 2007 by Sashanna