Dissolving Dualism : A Tripartite Model of Cognition for Religious Truth

Abstract: This investigation can be described as a long journey to a final destination: a truth in religion. We start by considering dualism of the subjective and the objective, the classical model of cognition that underlies notions of truth. Dualistic notions of cognition lead to serious problems, especially for religious truth. Religions claim to state truths about the nature of the universe and human destiny, but these truths are incompatible. With a dualistic model this problem of diversity of religious truths leads to fundamentalism or relativism. Thus, this research aims to turn to the roots of the cognitive situation and investigate the way we cognize and relate to the world to provide a better model. As we consider the philosophical theories and empirical investigations of cognition, we come to the conclusion that dualism of the subjective and objective is not tenable. As the findings of contemporary mind sciences and phenomenologically oriented research indicate, human cognition is embodied, embedded, enacted, extended, and shaped by language. Thus, I propose to re-conceptualize the cognitive situation to provide a better philosophical account. I put forward a tripartite model of cognition, which unites language, action, and environment. The consequent application of this model to the issues of truth and religion shows that we can avoid the problem of diversity of truth claims. A tripartite model allows us to explain how we can maintain religion as true, despite the diversity of religious truth claims. Additionally, as this model is fundamental, its application leads to various new findings and inferences, which render anew the world and the way humans relate to it. Thus, our journey brings us to new frontiers of investigation.