Can Materialism Explain the Mind?

Faraz Khan | Renovatio

Human nature has been a central theme of intellectual and mystical contemplation from ancient times and across civilizations. By virtue of distinctive traits like rationality, knowledge, speech, and moral agency, man was considered a world apart from the rest of nature, and the spirit of man was recognized as something unique and wondrous. In Islam, knowledge of one’s soul is the point of departure for its purification and for attaining divine love, given that an authentic life of piety and altruism emanates from a sanctified soul absorbed in the remembrance of God.

With the advent of modernity, new philosophical commitments brought new terminology and novel theories. What most civilizations traditionally named spirit or soul is often called “mind” today due to the theological implications of the classical terms.1 The branch of modern philosophy that deals with what the medievals called soul is the philosophy of mind, a field of inquiry that relates to many critical issues in both academic and public discourse.

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