IAIS currently offers the following courses at a nominal rate to the aspiring candidates. To register for the following courses, please write to [email protected].
The Course in general is an exploration of the current debates at the intersection between science, philosophy, religion and spirituality. It explores the epistemic, philosophical, religious and ethical implications of the major developments in the various branches of natural science. A major focus of the course is to understand the and interpret the profound insights of the Christian revelation in a worldview that is dominated by Science. Having explored the historical dynamics of the relationship between religion and science, the course moves on to introduce the major schools of philosophy of science like logical positivism, historicism and historical realism. The course further dwells on the developments in Physical Sciences, Cosmology, and Life Sciences and spell out the philosophical and religious implications of these developments along with the ethical challenges present in them. The course concludes with the intersection of neuroscience and neuroreligion. Using the tools of rational hermeneutics, the course aims at developing a scientifically informed holistic thinking on God world and Human in a language sensible to the modern human.
This course is offered in physical as well as virtual space. The course mainly targets the major seminarians who are being trained for priesthood. The course has been running since 2000 and the number of candidates who completed this crossed 3000 in the year 2020. The registrants for this course hail mainly from Jnana Deepa, Pune, St. Joseph’s Pontifical Seminary, Mangalappuzha; St. Thomas Apostolic Seminary, Kottayam; Good Shepherd Seminary, Kunnoth; Marymatha Major Seminary, Thrissur; Indian Institute of Science and Spirituality, Bangalore; Little Flower Seminary, Aluva and Mater Dei Institute, Goa.
This course is a developed version of the course Science and Mysticism – An Integral Vision of Reality, which was chosen for by the Centre for Theology and Natural Sciences, Berkeley, California for its international science-religion course award. This course has been offered in physical space at Jnana Deepa Vidyapeeth, Pune and Little Flower seminary, Aluva, Since 2001.
The Human brain containing 100 billion neurons is the most complex thing we know of and the super ‘machine’ ever evolved. Neuroscientific discoveries are already matters of contentious debate among scientists, philosophers, theologians, ethicists and policy makers. The astonishing findings of the different branches of neuroscience have claimed to have mapped even the subjective secrets of human beings. Neuroscience today revisits the traditional debates on the link between the mind and the body, the existence of the soul, etc. Neuroscientists today explore the neurological underpinnings of spiritual and mystical experience. A scientific and philosophical voyage into the unchartered territories of neuroscience is very promising today. Beginning with the anatomy of brain, the brain imaging techniques and the other fundamentals of neuroscience, the course will move on to explore the philosophical, religious and ethical implications of the advanced developments in neuroscience related to Brain-machine Interface, Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Consciousness, Neuroreligion, Neuroethics, etc.
Neuroethics is in a way the imaging of ethics itself. It means today we understand the neurological grounds of the human ethical and unethical behaviour. Thus, analogically conceived, ethics itself can be subjected to neurological studies. In other words, Neuroethics is the imaging of ethics itself.
A significant aspect of Neuroethics is that informs the very discipline of ethics is by shedding greater light upon the fundamental presuppositions of ethics. The morality of an action is normatively judged if only that act is done with knowledge and intent. Human beings as “persons” imply that they have freedom and knowledge. Neurological studies have found there are several aspects of human behaviours that are neurologically conditioned. Such factors the limit freedom of the individual and it raises concerns about the measure of the moral responsibility of a person about his/her act.
This lecture highlights the neurological grounds of certain behaviours related to violence and aggression that raises serious ethical questions about the moral responsibility of the offender on the act. However, neuroscience has not established the causal connection between the patterns in the brain and the behaviour. Thus Neuroethics opens up wider researches and deliberations in the field.
Module 2 discusses the ethical issues in neuroimaging. Neuroimaging is being developed as a technique to understand personality and emotions. It carries the prospects of being used as a scientific method to solve several social problems like solving a crime, assessing a person’s dangerousness, or choosing young people’s training options, setting norms for insurance coverage, emotional reorientation, etc. Hence the emergence of the new branch of neuroscience called social neuroscience. Neuroscreening claims to benefit prevention, and diagnosis several social ills and disorders by identifying vulnerability factors for psychopathology such as structural abnormalities, dysfunctional metabolism or activation patterns. Predictive Neuroimaging hopes to predict later onset psychiatric disorders. Prognostic neuroimaging can guide treatment strategy. Forensic neuroimaging claims to give useful tips to solving complex problems like issues of crimes. Ethical issues include, reliability, privacy, identity, etc.
Neurocognitive enhancement refers to the improvement of executive function or general cognitive abilities through the use of drugs such as Adderall, Modafinil, and Ritalin. Executive functioning simply refers to the control of many cognitive abilities such as reasoning, memory, and critical thinking skills. Ethical issues involve reliability, safety, justice, authenticity, etc.
The ethical debates revolve around the themes of human nature, human dignity, Bioconservatism, privacy, autonomy, etc.