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Leverhulme Research Grant Awarded to Dr Tim Bayne and Dr Anna Marmodoro

Incarnation by Embodiment: Christ as the ‘external vehicle’ of God’s mental contents

The Faculty is very pleased to announce that the Leverhulme Trust has awarded a research grant to Dr Tim Bayne and Dr Anna Marmodoro for a project entitled ‘Incarnation by Embodiment: Christ as the ‘external vehicle’ of God’s mental contents’. The project concerns the ontology of the Extended Mind theory, as applied to the study of incarnation in the philosophy of religion:

If one’s belief that ‘the square root of 196 is 14’ can be realised in a calculator’s operation, can we not make sense of the possibility of a mind’s mental content being realised in another mind? This is the challenge of the possibility of incarnation.

Is it possible to make philosophical sense of the phenomenon of incarnation in light of the Extended Mind theory? Do we understand the claim that a substance can be realised in part in another? No explanation of incarnation has so far earned philosophical credibility, despite multiple attempts in the history of philosophy to explain its nature. Putting aside whether incarnation is true or not, it is the metaphysical possibility of such ontological dependencies we seek to explore.

The project aims at understanding the problem of incarnation as a phenomenon of a mind realising its contents in a different substance. We will be guided on the one hand by the ontological analyses of incarnation offered in the history of metaphysics and in contemporary philosophy, and on the other, by a new theory of a mind’s operations being extended onto another substance. We will be concerned with such questions as: would the realisation in another substance change the nature of the extended mind? Would it change the nature of the substance or the mind that is hosting this extension? What types of dependence relations bond the extended mind and its host?

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