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The Metaphor of the Maps and Understanding the Mind

The British philosopher Mary Midgley has used the metaphor of the maps recently in arguing for an approach to consciousness which is neither reductionist nor dualist.Midgley, Mary, ‘One World, but a big one’, J. Consciousness Studies 3, 5-6, 500-14 (1996) - also ‘Science in the world’, Science Studies, 9 (2), 49-58 (1996)She argues that different sorts of mental phenomena - and aspects of humanity dependent on our consciousness, such as society - can be described using the analogy of different maps - political, demographic, climatic, etc - of the (one) world.

Midgley insists that consciousness, and indeed society and politics and the like, are not any less real than the atoms of which they are made, and the maps drawn of them should not be regarded as inferior. ‘Neither houses nor quarks... are more real than mental items’Midgley, ‘One World, but a big one’, p513

The relation between scientific and theological descriptions of mental states and religious experience is discussed by Fraser Watts in God, Humanity and the Cosmos, Ch.5.

Email link | Feedback | Contributed by: Dr. Christopher Southgate
Source: God, Humanity and the Cosmos  (T&T Clark, 1999)

Outlines of the Debate

Index - God, Humanity and the Cosmos, 1999 T&T Clark

The Metaphor of the Maps and Understanding the Mind

Related Book Topics:

Science and Religion - Conflict or Dialogue?
The ‘Conflict’ or ‘Warfare’ Hypothesis
The Words ‘Science’ and ‘Theology’ in Popular Usage
Possibilities for Dialogue
Different Sciences - Different Relationships
A ‘Special Relationship’?
The Metaphor of the Maps
Key Figures and Developments in the Science-Religion Debate
Typologies Relating Science and Religion
Barbour’s Typology
Natural Theology vs Theology of Nature
Peters’ Typology
Drees’ Typology
Religion as Evolutionary Phenomenon
A Critique of Willem B Drees’ Typology
Critical Realism in Science and Religion
Judging the Fit Between Data and Reality
Alternatives to a Realist Position
Applying Critical Realism to Theology
The Ongoing Debate on Critical Realism and Theology
The Role of Model and Metaphor
Model and Metaphor Compared
Consonances Between Science and Religion
Greek Philosophy and the Rise of Western Science
Religion and the Rise of Science


Dr. Christopher Southgate, Mr Michael Poole, and Mr Paul D. Murray in God, Humanity and the Cosmos.Published by T&T Clark.

See also:

Saint Augustine
Sir Isaac Newton
Charles Darwin
The Relation of Science & Religion
Books on Science and Religion - General