The Image in Mind: Theism, Naturalism, and the Imagination

Author(s): Charles Taliaferro


A philosophical inquiry into the strengths and weaknesses of theism and naturalism in accounting for the emergence of consciousness, the visual imagination and aesthetic values. The authors begin by offering an account of modern scientific practice which gives a central place to the visual imagination and aesthetic values. They then move to test the explanatory power of naturalism and theism in accounting for consciousness and the very visual imagination and aesthetic values that lie behind and define modern science. Taliaferro and Evans argue that evolutionary biology alone is insufficient to account for consciousness, the visual imagination and aesthetic values. Insofar as naturalism is compelled to go beyond evolutionary biology, it does not fare as well as theism in terms of explanatory power.


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A philosophical inquiry into the strengths and weaknesses of theism and naturalism in accounting for the emergence of consciousness, the visual imagination and aesthetic values.

This timely and remarkable book, the collaborative work of a leading philosopher of religion and a distinguished contemporary artist, explores and defends the aboriginal bond between aesthetics and theology with great power, verve and ingenuity. -- Douglas Hedley, Reader In The Philosophy Of Religion And Fellow Of Clare College, University Of Cambridge, UK Were it not for the inflationary use of the word, I would describe this contribution as 'inspirational'; but inspirational in more than the usual sense. The authors liberate the reader's imagination by arguing for its centrality. The balance in these pages between poetry and philosophy, art and science, faith and reason is exemplary. -- Daniel N. Robinson, Professor In The Faculty Of Philosophy, University Of Oxford, Uk, And Distinguished Professor Emeritus Of Philosophy, Georgetown University, USA Charles Taliaferro and Jil Evans see the age old battle between theism and naturalism as a battle between contrasting images, of nature, of freedom, of the self, of good and evil, of beauty, and of reality itself. Drawing on a host of thinkers, ancient and modern, and with a wealth of illustrative detail, including some evocative images of their own, they track the course of the battle fairly and comprehensively right up to the present day; at the same time they develop their own persuasive account of the world as a book written by the finger of God, open to minds attuned to its meanings. -- Anthony O'Hear, Garfield Weston Professor Of Philosophy, University Of Buckingham, Director Of The Royal Institute Of Philosophy, Uk, And Editor Of Philosophy. This book argues that worldviews are answerable to aesthetic criteria, and it admirably displays the intellectual virtues that are implied in this stance: it brings into constructive synthesis the perspectives of a philosopher and of an artist, it is sensitive to the felt quality of human experience, and throughout it is accessibly and engagingly written. -- Mark Wynn, Senior Lecturer In The Philosophy Of Religion, University Of Exeter, Uk. This volume is well written and technically argued... Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-level undergraduates through researchers/faculty. CHOICE

Charles Taliaferro is Professor of Philosophy at St. Olaf College, USA, and is the author of Consciousness and the Mind of God, Evidence and Faith: Philosophy and religion since the seventeenth century, Contemporary Philosophy of Religion, Dialogues About God, Philosophy of Religion: A Beginners Guide and the co-author of Naturalism. He is the co-editor of A Companion to Philosophy of Religion, Cambridge Platonist Spirituality, and the Cambridge Companion to Christian Philosophical Theology. He was the philosophy of religion area editor of the Encyclopedia of Philosophy, second edition and is on the editorial board of Religious Studies, Sophia, Blackwell's Philosophy Compass, American Philosophical Quarterly, and Ars Disputandi. Taliaferro has lectured at Oxford, Cambridge, NYU, Columbia, Princeton, and St. Andrews University. Jil Evans (MFA Stanford University) has exhibited her paintings and prints in Minnesota, Chicago, New York City, Michigan, Memphis, Washington D.C., California, Paris, and Rome. Her work is in many private and public collections including the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Halle Ford Museum of Art, Stanford University, Valparaiso University Museum of Art, Steensland Art Museum, Harry and Margaret Anderson Collection of Art, Healthmarc, Inc., Minnetonka Corporation, Piper Jaffray and Hopwood, Central Lakes Colleges, Winthrop and Weinstein, and Coca Cola, Inc. She has received two grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board, in addition a Pew Grant to study and paint in Italy, and residencies at the American Academy in Rome and Atlantic Center for the Arts. Finally, the Jerome Foundation and Arts Midwest/ National Endowment for the Arts have extended support for her work. Since 1985 she has taught regularly in the Art Department at St. Olaf College.

Acknowledgments / Introduction / 1. The Turning Image / 2. The Aesthetics of Inquiry / 3. The Cosmic Question and the Emergence: The Trick / 4. Seeing Into Other Minds / 5. The Problem of Theism: Evil / 6. The Fitting Imagination / Bibliography / Index

General Fields

  • : 9781441167798
  • : Continuum Publishing Corporation
  • : Continuum Publishing Corporation
  • : June 2013
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Charles Taliaferro
  • : Paperback
  • : 224