Current Approaches in the Cognitive Science of Religion / Edition 1 available in Paperback
- Pub. Date:
- Bloomsbury Academic
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 turn") 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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About 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.
Table of Contents
1. Why Do Gods and Spirits Matter at All? Supernatural Gadgets and Social Mind AdaptationsPascal Boyer, Henry Luce Professor of Collective and Individual Memory, Washington University in St. Louis2. Religion and the Counter-IntuitiveIlkka Pyysiäinen3. Dumb Gods, Petitionary Prayer, and the Cognitive Science of ReligionJustin L. Barrett, Visiting Assistant Professor, Psychology, Culture and Cognition Program, University4. Animal Animism: Evolutionary Roots of Religious CognitionStewart Guthrie, Professor of Anthropology, Fordham University5. Does Classification Explicate the Contents of Concepts?Pertti Saariluoma, Professor of Cognitive Science, University of Helsinki6. Cognitive Constraints on Religious Ritual Form: A Theory of Participants' Competence with Religious Systems E. Thomas Lawson, Professor of Comparative Religion, Western Michigan University, and Robert N. McCauley, Professor of Philosophy, Emory University7. Implicit and Explicit Knowledge in the Domain of RitualHarvey Whitehouse, Reader in Anthropology, Queen's University of Belfast8. The Complex Worlds of Religion: Connecting Cultural and Cognitive Analysis Jeppe Sinding Jensen, Senior Lecturer, Department of the Study of Religion, University of Aarhus9. Identifying the Generative Mechanisms of Religion: The Issue of Origin RevisitedVeikko Anttonen10. "The Morphology and Function of Magic" RevisitedJesper Sørensen, Assistant Professor, Department of the Study of Religion, University of Southern Denmark, Odense University11. Explaining Religion - Cognitive and Evolutionary MechanismsMatti Kamppinen, Senior Lecturer of Comparative Religion, University of Turku