Animal Consciousness, Philosophy of Mind, and Process Theology (ACPMPT)
Institute for Philosophical Foundations of Theology (IPFT)
Department of Catholic Theology
A collaboration between three academic departments and one ecclesiastical institute, this society strives to establish a working platform for the interdisciplinary research focusing on the topic of the human-animal-relationship. Core membership brings together academics in philosophy of mind and nature, behavioral biology, and theology to articulate the concepts at hand and plan for meetings. The society maintains that the complex and paradoxical relationship between humans and animals has been a neglected issue in recent works in theology and science – particularly in relation to the to the theology and science of creation. This leads to a need for thorough and rigorous exploration of the differences in concepts and research methodologies in the study of consciousness in animals and human beings. Additionally, there exists a profound need for the development of a working concept of animal consciousness on the basis of theories in the philosophy of mind, and behavioral biology. Further, broad theological reflection is called for regarding these new concepts and the possibility of a God-animal-relation and the question of religious consciousness within animal existence. The first phase of the society’s activities involve dialogues leading to an international conference on “animal consciousness,” with publication of the proceedings and the development of a network of scholarly interest in the subject to follow. The second phase is dedicated to the establishment of a permanent forum of discussion and dialogue with members, accompanied by mentoring of individual research and inspiration for graduate and doctoral theses. Matching funds are under application for grants from the Volkswagen Foundation and the “Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft”.