Engaging the Cosmos: Astronomy, Philosophy, and Faith

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Written by an experienced author with a strong background in both history and earth sciences, this text explores the philosophic implications of the dramatic developments now under way in astrophysics and astrobiology. The book addresses such questions as How close may this progress, empirical and theoretical, bring us to a definitive understanding of ultimate realities? What could it connote for the future of the great religious obediences? What might it mean for the evolution of a planetary consciousness that could be the key to the survival of our overburdened world? and Are there not alarming possibilities, yet also very positive ones? Not only does this discussion take full but measured account of hard science in a manner accessible to lay people, but the arguments and observations presented will be set firmly in a deep historical perspective.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“This is an unusual book which ranges across astronomy, philosophy, and faith as the subtitle promises. It embraces a study of the value systems and concepts which have come from major religions and other structure of belief. Ultimately Professor Brown seems to be fundamentally concerned with what human beings are and the meaning of human consciousness. . . . Well worth the effort for a wide range of readers, philosophers, scientists, and non-specialists.”  —Philosophy of Management

“Neville Brown brings a distinctive voice and a lifetime’s reflection to the discussion of both science and spirituality. He provides an engaging compendium of information on human evolution, emphasizing the critical role astronomy has played in redefining human self-perception. Eastern as well as Western cultures fall within his purview and he provides the grounds for welcoming the spiritual experimentation taking place within and across different religious traditions. This is a book for all who share his concern that in a shrinking world the choice between fanaticism and conciliation is becoming ever starker.”  —John Hedley Brooke, Andreas Idreos professor of science and religion, University of Oxford

“Professor Neville Brown has written a magisterial book on current relationships and debates involving astronomy, philosophy, and theology. His work on this broad and daunting topic is a highly creative and accessible analysis by a writer with unusual interdisciplinary strengths. Political, religious, and civic leaders—world-wide—would do well to heed this book’s message.”  —Milton C. Cummings, Jr., professor emeritus of political science, Johns Hopkins University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781903900666
  • Publisher: Sussex Academic Press
  • Publication date: 6/1/2006
  • Pages: 367
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Neville Brown is the award-winning author of 12 books, including Future Global Challenge; The Future of Air Power; Global Instability and Strategic Crisis; History and Climate Change, a Eurocentric Perspective; and New Strategy through Space. In 1990, he was elected a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society.

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Table of Contents

1 The age of stone 3
2 Hammurabi to Ptolemy 18
3 Late antiquity to Copernicus 33
4 A Renaissance continuum 49
5 The cosmological revolution 70
6 Astrobiology 83
7 Consciousness 98
8 An end to nature? 115
9 Retreat from reason 129
10 Conflict in heaven? 151
11 Judaism fulcral 165
12 Christ and the humanists 181
13 Countervalent Islam 197
14 Indian pluralism 212
15 Japanese togetherness 227
16 Yearnings for belief 243
17 Creative convergence 262
18 Fulfilment regained? 285
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