The Naturalness of Religious Ideas: A Cognitive Theory of Religion / Edition 1

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Overview

Why do people have religious ideas? And why thosereligious ideas? The main theme of Pascal Boyer's work is that important aspects of religious representations are constrained by universal properties of the human mind-brain. Experimental results from developmental psychology, he says, can explain why certain religious representations are more likely to be acquired, stored, and transmitted by human minds. Considering these universal constraints, Boyer proposes an exciting new answer to the question of why similar religious representations are found in so many different cultures. His work will be widely discussed by cultural anthropologists, psychologists, and students of religion, history, and philosophy.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520075597
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 2/3/1994
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 344
  • Product dimensions: 11.20 (w) x 7.40 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Pascal Boyer, Senior Research Fellow in Cultural Anthropology at King's College, University of Cambridge, is the author of Tradition as Truth and Communication (1990).

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Table of Contents

Preface
Pt. 1 Religious Ideas as Conceptual Structures
1 Recurrence, Naturalness, and Under-Determination 3
2 The Varieties of Religious Representations 29
3 Two Aspects of Conceptual Structures 61
Pt. 2 Four Repertoires of Religious Representations
4 Natural Ontologies and Supernatural Furniture 91
5 Causal Judgments 125
6 Essentialism and Social Categories 155
7 Ritual Episodes and Religious Assumptions 185
Pt. 3 A Sketch of Cultural Transmission
8 Cross-Strengthening, Religious Truth, and Stability 227
9 Cultural Transmission and the Biology in History 263
References 297
Index 315
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