The Biological Evolution of Religious Mind and Behavior / Edition 1

The Biological Evolution of Religious Mind and Behavior / Edition 1

Pub. Date:
Springer Berlin Heidelberg


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The Biological Evolution of Religious Mind and Behavior / Edition 1

In a Darwinian world, religious behavior - just like other behaviors - is likely to have undergone a process of natural selection in which it was rewarded in the evolutionary currency of reproductive success. This book aims to provide a better understanding of the social scenarios in which selection pressure led to religious practices becoming an evolved human trait, i.e. an adaptive answer to the conditions of living and surviving that prevailed among our prehistoric ancestors. This aim is pursued by a team of expert authors from a range of disciplines. Their contributions examine the relevant physiological, emotional, cognitive and social processes. The resulting understanding of the functional interplay of these processes gives valuable insights into the biological roots and benefits of religion.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9783642001277
Publisher: Springer Berlin Heidelberg
Publication date: 10/02/2009
Series: The Frontiers Collection
Edition description: 2009
Pages: 305
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.30(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Wulf Schiefenhövel is professor for medical psychology and ethnomedicine at the University of Munich and head of the human ethology group at the Max-Planck-Institute in Andechs, Germany. His main research interests are human ethology and evolutionary medicine, within which he focuseson sexuality and reproduction, human birth behavior, early infancy, language and cognitive concepts as well as the genetic and oral history of Melanesian populations

Eckart Voland is professor for philosophy of life sciences at the University of Giessen, Germany. His main research interests are human sociobiology and behavioral ecology. In particular he is interested in the biological evolution of social and reproductive strategies in humans. Moreover, in pursuing the project of naturalizing the human mind and its achievements, he works on the philosophical implications of evolutionary anthropology as reflected in evolutionary ethics and aesthetics.

Table of Contents

From the contents: Introduction.- Evaluating the Evolutionary Status of Religiosity and Religiousness.-Gods, Gains, and Genes.- How Some Major Components of Religion Could Have Evolved by Natural Selection.- The Correlated History of Social Organization, Morality, and Religion.- Is There a Particular Role for Ideational of Religious in Human Behavioral Ecology.- Talk and Tradition: Why the Least Interesting Components of Religion May Be the Most Evolutionarily Important.- The Reproductive Benefits of Religious Affiliation.- The African Interregnum: The “Where.” “When,” and “Why” of the Evolution of Religion.- Explaining the Inexplicable: Traditional and Syncretistic Religiosity in Melanesia.- Authoritarianism, Religiousness, and Conservatism: Is “Obedience to Authority “the Explanation for Their Clustering, Universality and Evolution?.- Cognitive Foundations in the Development of a Religious Mind.- Religious Belief and Neurocognitive Processes of the Self.- Neurologic Constraints on Evolutionary Theories of Religion.- On Shared Psychological Mechanisms of Religiousness and Delusional Beliefs.- Cognitive Foundations of Religiosity.- The Religious System as Adaptive: Cognitive Flexibility, Public Displays, and Acceptance.- The Evolution of Evolutionary Theories of Religion.- Evolutionary Perspectives on Religion – What They Can and What They Cannot Explain (Yet).- Author Index.- Subject Index.

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