In Whose Image?
Perspectives from Intersections of Brain Science and Abrahamic Mindfulness

Friday, March 6, 2020 - Sunday, March 8, 2020

Goshen College, Goshen Indiana

Conference registration is through the Goshen College website

The twentieth annual Goshen Conference on Science and Religion will be held on the campus of Goshen College in Goshen, Indiana, Friday, March 6, 2020, through Sunday, March 8, 2020.  The speaker for the 2020 conference is Dr. Michael Spezio.

The first lecture is entitled, "Imagining the True Self: Apophatic Experience beyond Aseity". This lecture will introduce positive accounts of Abrahamic mindfulness and distinguish them from several influential, westernized Dharmic forms of mindfulness prior to considering how contemporary apophatic theologies can go beyond aseity in defining human selves and identities, drawing on conceptions in western psychological and brain sciences.

The second lecture is entitled, "Humility as Kenotic Empathy: A Positive Account of Humility and its Dependence upon Theory of Mind and Imaginaries of the True Self." Empathy and theory of mind are typically understood in the West as related to the uncertainty of other minds and the need for knowledge about them. However, empirical work with transformative communities that have positive constructions of humility shows a stronger connection between empathy and humility in openly welcoming and affirming another person as a fully valued "I". This lecture will present these models, connect them with the thought of Edith Stein and with future directions in computational decision neuroscience.

Dr. Michael Spezio

Michael Spezio, 2020 Conference SpeakerMichael Spezio is Associate Professor of Psychology & Neuroscience at Scripps College in Claremont, CA, and holds a Visiting Scientist appointment at the University Medical Center (UKE) in Hamburg, Germany. Michael is also an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). He heads the Laboratory for Inquiry into Valuation and Emotion (The LIVE Lab) at Scripps College. The LIVE Lab uses computational models of semantic relations, mental processes, and neural systems to study the dynamic valuation of self and other critical for choices about how to live. This work includes studies of empathy, compassion, forgiveness, virtuous formation, mindfulness, prayer, theory of mind, belief and value updates using available evidence, and the extent to which both temporal horizon and evidence weighting influence interactive learning during cooperation and competition. He developed the first course in Data Science Ethics and Justice at the Claremont Colleges and works on virtue in the practices of science. He is Co-Editor of the journal Philosophy, Theology, and the Sciences (Mohr Siebeck) and of the Routledge Companion to Religion & Science. Michael gratefully acknowledges funding from the National Science Foundation, the Templeton Religion Trust, and the John Templeton Foundation.Michael Spezio is Associate Professor of Psychology & Neuroscience at Scripps College in Claremont, CA, and holds a Visiting Scientist appointment at the University Medical Center (UKE) in Hamburg, Germany. Michael is also an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). He heads the Laboratory for Inquiry into Valuation and Emotion (The LIVE Lab) at Scripps College. The LIVE Lab uses computational models of semantic relations, mental processes, and neural systems to study the dynamic valuation of self and other critical for choices about how to live. This work includes studies of empathy, compassion, forgiveness, virtuous formation, mindfulness, prayer, theory of mind, belief and value updates using available evidence, and the extent to which both temporal horizon and evidence weighting influence interactive learning during cooperation and competition. He developed the first course in Data Science Ethics and Justice at the Claremont Colleges and works on virtue in the practices of science. He is Co-Editor of the journal Philosophy, Theology, and the Sciences (Mohr Siebeck) and of the Routledge Companion to Religion & Science. Michael gratefully acknowledges funding from the National Science Foundation, the Templeton Religion Trust, and the John Templeton Foundation.