Mel Gray


Conference 2016


JSS 6.2

Past News

JSS 6.2 More than Science: Reflections on Science, Spirit, Tradition, and Environment

by Professor Mel Gray, Professor of Social Work, University of Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia
Journal for the Study of Spirituality 6, no. 2, 2016, pp. 155-167

This paper is based on my keynote presentation at the Annual Conference of the British Association for the Study of Spirituality in May 2016. I argue that two ways of knowing and forms of knowledge have provided the evidence we need to know that our modernist, rationalist worldview of the environment stands in the way of ‘better knowing for better responses’ to environmental sustainability. I argue that this knowledge — provided by traditional forms of science on the one hand and traditional indigenous knowledge on the other — has found us wanting. In keeping with the conference question ‘Can spirituality transform our world?’ I explore whether spirituality has the transformative power we need to motivate us to change our lifestyles in ways that are more consistent with these two bodies of knowledge for environmental sustainability. I consider this in light of an understanding that science (by which I mean forms of knowing derived through empirical research) provides evidence but not ethics for environmental sustainability. I end with brief consideration of what traditional environmental knowledge offers to support the view that many cosmologists in the Western scientific tradition have reached.

To read the full article, click here.