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Open Theology

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The Illusion of Agency as a Mark of Ultimacy

Hugh Nicholson
Published Online: 2018-09-26 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opth-2018-0029


This essay proposes that action unaccompanied by the usual feeling of conscious agency constitutes a “mark of ultimacy.” Characteristically religious statements of “agentless action” find support in social psychological and cognitive scientific research that calls into question the intuitive belief that conscious thought causes action. An awareness of the limits of our powers of will lies at the the core of those limit experiences that provide the context for the meaningfulness of religious language.

Keywords: Meister Eckhart; Ramana Maharshi; Free Will; Erasmus; Luther; Wegner; New Atheism; limitexperience


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About the article

Received: 2018-07-02

Accepted: 2018-08-20

Published Online: 2018-09-26

Published in Print: 2018-09-01

Citation Information: Open Theology, Volume 4, Issue 1, Pages 386–394, ISSN (Online) 2300-6579, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opth-2018-0029.

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© by Hugh Nicholson, published by De Gruyter. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License. BY-NC-ND 4.0

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