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The Emergence of SinThe Cosmic Tyrant in Romans$
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Matthew Croasmun

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190277987

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190277987.001.0001

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The Emergence of Persons Great and Small

The Emergence of Persons Great and Small

(p.57) 3 The Emergence of Persons Great and Small
The Emergence of Sin

Matthew Croasmun

Oxford University Press

This chapter turns specifically to the question of personhood, offering an emergent ontology of human persons at both the biological and psychological levels. These “individuals” prove to be internally composite and externally open to further combination. The discussion then moves to consider these “external” combinations. In somatic terms, this involves discussion of biology’s history of determining the biological “individual,” and the discussion of “superorganisms” that blur the distinction between parts and wholes. Various theories of “group mind” are evaluated in order to consider the relevance of the presence of group cognition in identifying the emergence of “persons” at higher levels of complexity. The hypothesis is presented that Sin should be understood as a mythological person—a superorganism with a group mind—supervening on the transgressions of individual human persons and sinful social systems.

Keywords:   social theory, Durkheim, group mind, superorganisms, group-level selection, evolution, Mary Douglas, moral psychology, emergence, Romans

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