Review of Hud Hudson 'A Materialist Metaphysics of the Human Person'
Moreland (J.P.)
Source: Religious Studies, 39, Issue 02, June 2003, pp 235-241
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Abstract

  1. Hud Hudson has written a technical yet innovative book. And while I disagree with most of Hudson’s theses – I believe that most physicalists will refrain from choking down his central contention – this book places Hudson at the forefront of work in material composition; it is a ‘must’ read. Hudson argues for a conditional, though he also defends the antecedent: if we accept six theses, then we must accept his view of human persons:
    … (1) materialism regarding human persons;
    … (2) human persons persist over time by either enduring or perduring (the latter is Hudson’s position);
    … (3) ontological vagueness is false;
    … (4) classic logic is true, identity is absolute and is not sortal-relative1 ;
    … (5) necessitarianism is false ; and
    … (6) we ought to minimize bruteness in doing ontology.
    In light of these theses, Hudson develops his partist view to answer this question: ‘To which space-time worms does ‘‘human person’’ refer? ’
  2. I think Hudson’s approach to the topic as a distinctively Christian philosopher falls short of what is needed. Hudson follows an approach, now widely employed, that physicalism is consistent or merely compatible with Christian theism (3). Hudson’s chapter on this topic contains thirty-seven footnotes, but only three exegetical sources are cited. The vast majority of his sources involve interacting with other philosophers, especially other Christian materialists. One of his citations (170) mentions but fails to interact with the most important exegetical defense of dualism in recent years – "Cooper (John) - Body, Soul and Life Everlasting: Biblical Anthropology and the Monism-dualism Debate" (Grand Rapids MI: Eerdmans, 2000).
  3. By contrast, in my view, two features ought to characterize the philosophical method of Christian philosophers. First, as disciples of Jesus they should hunger to believe what Jesus believed and teach what he taught. They ought to take the embracing and promoting of Jesus’ worldview as an invitation to a flourishing life. Rather than seeking the minimum commitment consistent with being a Christian, they should do all they can to get clear on Jesus’ views prior to their philosophical activity. I believe this would lead them to embrace a substantial, immaterial soul. Second, they ought to root their philosophical work in serious exegesis. In my view, Hudson’s brilliance would greatly enhance the mission of the church if this methodology had been more central to the development of his views of human persons. In sum, this is a well-researched book, technically written and occasionally brilliant. But the main contours of Hudson’s position will likely not be persuasive to many.


Review of "Hudson (Hud) - A Materialist Metaphysics of the Human Person"; 1st 7 pages of PDF only

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