Rethinking Human Nature

A Christian Materialist Alternative to the Soul

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"Perhaps the most outstanding qualities of this book are its clarity and its generosity. Corcoran is able to present often-complex arguments in ways that folks who are not intimate with these discussions should nonetheless be able to follow. The humility with which he presents and argues for his own case is exemplary."--Joel B. Green, Fuller Theological Seminary

In Rethinking Human Nature, Kevin J. Corcoran argues that the "Christian story, with embodiment and incarnation at its center, provides the theological backdrop against which to measure our view of human nature." With this backdrop in mind Corcoran contends for a view of human nature that steers a middle way of sorts between dualism and strict materialism. The result is a nuanced Christian materialism, the Constitution View, that Corcoran believes best fits the "earthy picture of the Bible's grand narrative." Through arguing for this conclusion and addressing concerns it raises, Corcoran provides a solid introduction to the main debates regarding human nature that is infused with current scholarly debate on these topics and presented with an admirable scholarly humbleness. These traits make the work an excellent text for his target audience of students and interested lay readers that is still rigorous.


Endorsements

"Perhaps the most outstanding qualities of this book are its clarity and its generosity. Corcoran is able to present often-complex arguments in ways that folks who are not intimate with these discussions should nonetheless be able to follow. He treats his conversation partners with genuine respect. The humility with which he presents and argues for his own case is exemplary."--Joel B. Green, Fuller Theological Seminary; editor, In Search of the Soul

"Rethinking Human Nature is an excellent exploration of the nature of human persons. Corcoran defends a Constitution View of persons in which we are wholly made up of our bodies, yet we are not identical to them. While I do not, in the end, agree, the position he defends and the arguments he employs are extremely important for anyone thinking about the nature of human persons. One particular strength of his book is that he connects his position to critical issues in traditional theology and contemporary ethics. Corcoran's book will spark a lively debate for years to come."--Gregory E. Ganssle, Yale University, Rivendell Institute

"Kevin Corcoran is a Christian. He is also a materialist. Both those who welcome this combination and those who suspect that it is impossible should read his challenging and well-written book."--R. William Hasker, emeritus professor of philosophy, Huntington University


The Author

  1. Kevin J. Corcoran

    Kevin J. Corcoran

    Kevin J. Corcoran (PhD, Purdue University) is professor of philosophy at Calvin University, specializing in philosophy of mind, metaphysics, and philosophy of religion. He is the author of Rethinking Human Nature and the editor of Soul, Body, and...

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Reviews

"[A] carefully argued and challenging book. . . . There is a refreshing tone to the book characterized by Corcoran's humility as a thinker who knows he might be completely wrong in what he is advancing but wanting more than anything else to engage us in a conversation. I warmed to his assertion that 'discussion is to Christian philosophy what lab work is to the practice of biology,' and pastors as well as academic theologians will find much of value in these pages. It is a bracing read and prospective purchasers will need to hold on to their brains. But for those prepared to stay with the text there is much by way of reward."--Rod Garner, Reviews in Religion and Theology

"[This] book is intended for students of theology and philosophy and for the interested layperson. If you are inquisitive about what it means to be a human being, this is the book for you."--Aaron Vriesman, Reformed Review

"A wonderful book--relevant, highly readable and thought provoking. . . . I will conclude with an enthusiastic endorsement of a first-rate book. Corcoran has admirably explained his position on human nature to his fellow Christian believers."--Stewart Goetz, Philosophia Christi

"Corcoran presents some compelling reasons why [the Constitution View] is just as competent as body-soul dualism in protecting the sanctity and quality of human life. He approaches bioethical issues through the refreshing framework of creation, incarnation, and resurrection. . . . Rethinking Human Nature is for a wide audience. . . . [Corcoran] uses a flowing prose style that relies on thought experiments and analogies. . . . This book has its strengths in being quite readable and in providing a faithful materialist anthropology for Christians. . . . Rethinking Human Nature advances the ongoing conversation among Christians about the nature of human persons in light of philosophy, ethics, and Christian beliefs. Anyone interested in this conversation will find Corcoran's book helpful."--Brandon Jones, Calvin Theological Journal