‘God said “Let us make man in our image after our likeness”’ – Mary Shepherd, the imago-dei-thesis, and the human mind

British Journal for the History of Philosophy 31 (3):469-490 (2022)
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This paper explores the role that Mary Shepherd's (1777–1847) acceptance of the so-called imago-dei thesis plays for her account of the human mind. That is, it analyses Shepherd's commitment to the doctrine that humans are created in the image of God, (see Gen. 1, 26–7) parts of which Shepherd quotes in Essays on the Perception of an External Universe (EPEU), 157, and the ways it informs her understanding of the human mind. In particular, it demonstrates how this thesis informs her understanding of the cognitive and moral capacities of the human mind. In other words, I argue that her commitment to this thesis explains why she believes that human beings are capable of reaching the “higher acquirement of intelligence” and the “completion of virtuous habits” (EPEU 381). Thus, this paper highlights the relevance of Shepherd's theological assumptions to (the ever-growing number of) scholars interested in her understanding of the mind.

Author's Profile

Manuel Fasko
University of Basel


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