Brain, Mind and Soul in the Theological Psychology of Donald Mackay, 1922-1987

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This work seeks to present a Post-Cartesian metaphysical anthropology that is consistent with both contemporary philosophy and Reformed Evangelical Christian Theology. It does so by examining the intellectual legacy of Donald M. MacKay, arguing that his concept of complementary descriptions leads us to a deeper understanding of both modern neurophysiology and the Christian hope for personal life beyond the grave. Covering a wide range of topics from the history of philosophy and theology to logic, the philosophy of language, information theory, freedom and determinism, and the philosophy of mind, this work attempts to present an updated form of the school of thought Donald MacKay founded and ambitiously named ‘Comprehensive Realism’. This book contains 5 black and white photographs.


“For more than half a century the views of one neuroscientist/philosopher, the late Professor Donald Mackay, had a major influence on debates about mind and brain and soul and body. . . . This book traces out, from Mackay’s many published works, the way his thinking began, was presented and developed on topics such as complementarity, logical relativity, and individual eschatology and just what he meant by describing himself as a Comprehensive Realist. As David Norman spells out the story, he highlights the pitfalls that even some distinguished thinkers have fallen into in interpreting some of Donald Mackay’s ideas. He illustrates how Mackay’s ideas were similar to, but also in some essentials different from, those of distinguished contemporaries, philosophers, scientists and theologians who wrote on the same topics as Mackay and in doing so commented on and critiqued his views.” - Emeritus Professor Malcolm Jeeves, Past President, The Royal Society of Edinburgh

Table of Contents

Foreword by Professor Malcolm Jeeves
1 Setting the Scene
2 The Life and Times of Donald M. Mackay
3 Complementary Descriptions
4 Comprehensive Realism and the Mind/Body Problem
5 The Free Will Issue: Mackay’s Theory of Logical Relativity
6 Comprehensive Realism and Individual Eschatology
7 Comprehensive Realism and the Next Generation

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