George Graham
George State University

Abraham’s Dilemma: Religious Experience, Spiritual Delusion, and Moral Well-Being

Project description:

The goal of my research project is to display the attractiveness of a novel account of the place of spiritual delusion in our understanding of religious experience. According to the proposed account, a locus of distinction between spiritual delusion and non-delusional religious experience lies in the manner in which non-delusional religious experience can contribute positively to a person’s moral agency and moral well-being, whereas spiritual delusions typically do not. Moral agency and well-being typically are impaired in spiritual delusions. Or so I claim. It is this impairment and its multi-dimensionality that forms the focus of my proposal. Attempts to distinguish between spiritual delusions and non-delusions have tended to focus on social context and background cultural religious attitudes. I want to focus instead on an examination of spiritual delusion’s peculiar and damaging impact on a person’s moral identity.

George Graham is Professor of Philosophy at Georgia State University in Atlanta and an associate in that university’s Neuroscience Institute.  Graham grew up in Brooklyn, New York, graduated from Fordham in The Bronx, and received his PhD from Brandeis.  He has taught at Wake Forest University and the University of Alabama at Birmingham.  Graham has published extensively in philosophy of mind, philosophy of mental illness, and cognitive science.  His most recent book is THE DISORDERED MIND (Routledge 2013).