Religion and Cognitive Science: From Conflict to Connection
GTU/UCB Conference, Berkeley, CA
January 16-18, 2008

This conference brought together scholars from theology, religious studies, psychology, neuroscience, and many other disciplines to discuss the interaction of religion and cognitive science. Building upon ongoing collaborative dialogues between GTU and UCB faculty and students, this gathering includes focused discussions of mind-body philosophy, psychosocial dynamics, contemplative practice, and caregiving in pastoral and clinical settings, along with critically-informed methodological approaches to new research.

Schedule Abstracts

Wednesday, January 16

Introductions - Mark Graves (GTU)

Eugene Taylor (Saybrook Graduate School): "'Come Hither and be Measured': On the Problematic Relation Between Cognitive Science and Spiritual Experience from a Jamesean Perspective" (mp3)

Intentionality in Mind, Brain, and World

Howard Fields (UCSF): "Origins of Pleasure and Pain" (mp3, QA [mp3])

Michael Dodds (GTU): "Formal Causality and Human Wholeness: Perspectives on the Mind-Brain Dichotomy" (mp3, QA [mp3])

Walter Freeman (UCB) and Eraldo Cacchione (GTU): "Intentionality and Neurodynamics: Two Key Concepts to Understand Better the Relations Between Brain, Body, World, and Mind" (Part 1 [mp3], Part 2 [mp3])

Panel discussion - Graves (moderator), Taylor, Dodds, Cacchione, Freeman, Fields, Oliver Putz (GTU) (mp3)

Thursday, January 17

Introductions - Eleanor Rosch (UCB) (mp3)

Methods in Religion and Cognitive Science

John Kihlstrom (UCB): "What Is Cognitive Science? And What Does it Have to Do with Religion?" (mp3)

Eve Sweetser (UCB): "Cognitive Linguistics and Sacred Texts" (mp3)

Kelly Bulkeley (GTU): "What's in a Name?" (mp3)

Panel discussion - Rosch (moderator), Bulkeley, Kihlstrom, Sweetser (mp3)

Coping and Coherence: Psychosocial Dimensions of Religious and Spiritual Experience

David Gortner (GTU) moderated session:

Doug Oman (UCB): "Applying Self-efficacy Theory to Spirituality: Achievements, Challenges and Prospects" (mp3)

Judy Moskowitz (UCSF): "Maintaining Well-Being in the Midst of Prolonged Stress Positive Emotion, Meaning, and Spirituality" (mp3)

Jeffrey Baerwald (SCU): "Living a coherent narrative: Autonoesis through Meditation using the Ignatian Colloquy" (mp3)

Consciousness and Contemplative Practices

Kelly Bulkeley moderated panel: Richard Payne (GTU); Tracey Kahan (SCU); Eleanor Rosch (UCB) (mp3)

Friday, January 18

Introductions - Kelly Bulkeley (GTU)

From Trauma and Distortion to Forgiveness and Healing

Christine Skarda (formerly UCB): "Perception's Illusion: The Origin of Suffering" (mp3)

Jim Emerson (formerly GTU): "Realized Forgiveness: Prelude to Sound Cognitive Research" (mp3)

Mark Graves moderated panel: Jim Emerson; Christine Skarda; Emily Lyon (GTU); Mary Walsh (GTU); Alejandro Garcia-Rivera (GTU) (mp3)


Panel discussion - Graves (moderator), Emerson, Skarda, Rosch, Freeman, Garcia-Rivera (mp3)


GTU = Graduate Theological Union
UCB = University of California, Berkeley
UCSF = University of California, San Francisco
SCU = Santa Clara University

Sponsored by Cognitive Science program at UCB. Held at Church Divinity School of the Pacific.