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Current Approaches in the Cognitive Science of Religion / Edition 1

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Overview

The cognitive science of religion is a new field that has emerged within Religious Studies in the past two decades. In this volume, the world's leading experts present an up-to-date introduction to problems, theories and recent findings in this branch of inquiry. The issues discussed focus on the cognitive sources of recurrent phenomena that can be subsumed in the category of 'religion' in cultures the world over. For instance, the contributors posit questions as to why religious concepts emerge in the first place and what is the role that memory plays in the cultural transmission of beliefs and practices pertaining to religion. In explaining these and many other issues, the authors draw on the study of primate cognition, linguistics, anthropology as well as developmental, cognitive and evolutionary psychology.The cognitive science of religion represents a dramatic change (a "cognitive turban") in the inherited ways of understanding religious phenomena. It will significantly alter the current views of religion within the fields of Religious Studies and Cultural Anthropology. Instead of questions centering on the existence of gods, spirits or ghosts, or the cultural diversity of myths, beliefs and rituals, this field of study focuses on the role that the human mind and its evolved cognitive machinery play in the construction of supernatural repertoires.The book is of interest to scholars in religious studies and comparative religion as well as in anthropology, psychology and cognitive science.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780826457103
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic
  • Publication date: 8/27/2002
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 277
  • Product dimensions: 6.36 (w) x 9.22 (h) x 0.89 (d)

Meet the Author

Ilkka Pyysiainen is Associate Professor of Comparative Religion at the University of Turku, Finland, and Academy Research Fellow at the Academy of Finland. Veikko Anttonen is Professor and Chair of Comparative Religion at the University of Turku, Finland.

Veikko Anttonen is Professor and Chair of Comparative Religion at the University of Turku, Finland.

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Table of Contents

Contributors
1 Introduction: Cognition and Culture in the Construction of Religion 1
2 Identifying the Generative Mechanisms of Religion: The Issue of Origin Revisited 14
3 Animal Animism: Evolutionary Roots of Religious Cognition 38
4 Why Do Gods and Spirits Matter at All? 68
5 Dumb Gods, Petitionary Prayer and the Cognitive Science of Religion 93
6 Religion and the Counter-Intuitive 110
7 Implicit and Explicit Knowledge in the Domain of Ritual 133
8 The Cognitive Representation of Religious Ritual Form: A Theory of Participants' Competence with Religious Ritual Systems 153
9 'The Morphology and Function of Magic' Revisited 177
10 The Complex Worlds of Religion: Connecting Cultural and Cognitive Analysis 203
11 Does Classification Explicate the Contents of Concepts? 229
12 Explaining Religion: Cognitive and Evolutionary Mechanisms 260
Name Index 271
Subject Index 274
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