Co-Coordinator of the Science and Religion in Interfaith Contexts Reading Group

Rebekah Wallace is completing her DPhil in Science and Religion under the supervision of Professor Alister McGrath, FRSA, Andreas Idreos Professor of Science and Religion at the University of Oxford. She works in the field of Science and Religion at the intersection of cognitive science and theology. Rebekah explores embodied cognition theory as a tool for understanding Christian theological anthropology and exploring human personhood and identity in a non-Cartesian paradigm. In other words, her work looks at subjectivity, emotion, and embodiment as central to mind and asks what this might mean for a theology of the soul and Christian eschatology.

Although Rebekah’s work focuses on the implications of contemporary cognitive sciences for a scientifically informed theology of the human person, she is intrigued by the resonances between this new turn in philosophy of mind and older texts such as those of Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas. As such, her work attempts to explore the ways in which current substance-dualist views of the mind and body might anachronistically utilize concepts from ancient sources to support a quite recent development in philosophical and theological thought in the last few hundred years. Her initial findings suggest that a more holistic, Thomistic hylomorphic approach could solve some of the philosophical challenges posed by substance dualism and could be an apt source for embodied cognition theorists in talking of the relationship between body and mind/soul.

In the course of her work, Rebekah has become interested in various facets of this question and has thus found an exploration into early modern intellectual history stimulating in understanding the current scientific framework for discussing the nature of rationality and its relation to embodiment.

Recently, Rebekah has begun exploring the practical application of these findings for pastoral care and the development of doctrine.