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From the Publisher'How Religion Works offers one of the best introductions currently available on the growing interest...in the nature and function of religion'
Kelly Bulkeley, Religious Studies Review
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Recent findings in cognitive science and evolutionary psychology provide important insights to the processes which make religious beliefs and behaviors such efficient attractors in and across various cultural settings. The specific salience of religious ideas is based on the fact that they are 'counter-intuitive': they contradict our intuitive expectations of how entities normally behave.
Counter-intuitive ideas are only produced by a mind capable of crossing the boundaries that separate such ontological domains as persons, living things, and solid objects. The evolution of such a mind has only taken place in the human species.
How certain kinds of counter-intuitive ideas are selected for a religious use is discussed from varying angles. Cognitive considerations are thus related to the traditions of comparative religion.
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|Ch. 1||Introduction: Cognitive Approach to Religion||1|
|The Category of 'Religion'||1|
|The Cognitive Approach||5|
|Ch. 2||God and Transcendence||9|
|'God' as an Emic Concept||9|
|Superhuman Beings, Religion and Science||12|
|Counter-Intuitiveness of Gods||18|
|Ch. 3||Religion and Culture||25|
|Geertz and the Concept of 'Culture'||25|
|Geertz and Symbolism||33|
|Geertz on Religion as a Symbolic Cultural System||44|
|Ch. 4||Religion and the Social||55|
|On the Sociological Background of Durkheim's Theory of Religion||55|
|Religion and Society||59|
|Religion as Symbolic of the Society - A Critique||63|
|Religion and Society Reconsidered||70|
|Ch. 5||Religious Belief, Experience, and Ritual||77|
|Ritual and Emotion||78|
|What is Emotion?||97|
|On the Neurophysiology of Emotion||102|
|Religious Experience, "Mysticism" and Emotions||109|
|Ch. 6||Religion, "Worldview," and Ethics||143|
|Religion as "Worldview"||143|
|An Outline of Ethics as a Field of Study||158|
|Ch. 7||Religion and Cognition: Towards a New Science of Religion||197|
|Intuitive Theories and Cognitive Domains||208|
|Is Religion a Cognitive Domain?||215|
|Index of Names||267|
|Index of Subjects||270|