About the Project

Welcome to the website for ‘Emergence: From Biology to Theology’, a philosophical research project that was based at the University of Aberdeen, UK between 2012 and 2014.

The two-year research project, ‘Emergence: From Biology to Theology’, was funded by an award from the Uses and Abuses of Biology Grant Programme and was associated with the School of Divinity, History and Philosophy, the Department of Philosophy and the Centre for History and Philosophy of Science, Technology and Medicine at the University of Aberdeen.

The Project’s main aim was to provide the first sustained critical analysis of the uses and abuses of theories of emergence in contemporary theology. After an initial survey, identifying the ‘turn to emergence’ in contemporary theology, the Project carried out a detailed philosophical analysis which critically evaluated this recent theological phenomenon and its conceptual foundations. It endorsed and developed the recent proposal, made by Sami Pihlström and colleagues, that the concept of emergence and the philosophical framework of emergentism be reconceptualised along pragmatist and Wittgensteinian philosophical lines. On the basis of this philosophical analysis the Project developed a positive proposal for the constructive application of the concept of emergence in philosophy of religion and theology. This final stage will identified future research questions and developed proposals for further work in this area.

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