Can scientists study religion? Ilkka Pyysiäinen says that they can. While the study of religion cannot be reduced to other disciplines, it must not ignore what other disciplines have learned about human thought and behavior. In this collection of essays, Pyysiäinen shows how findings from cognitive science can offer new directions to debates in religion. After providing a historical and theoretical overview of the cognitive science of religion, Pyysiäinen demonstrates how knowledge of the mind's workings can help deconstruct such concepts as "god," "ideology," "culture," "magic," "miracles," and "religion." For scholars of religion or for scholars of the mind-brain, Magic, Miracles, and Religion provides a helpful overview to this emerging field.
About the Author
Ilkka Pyysiäinen was educated in theology and comparative religion at the University of Helsinki, Finland. He earned his Ph.D. in 1993 with a thesis on Buddhist mysticism. Since that he has dedicated himself for the exploration of religious cognition. He has published numerous articles and among his books are How Religion Works (2001) and Current Approaches in the Cognitive Science of Religion (edited with Veikko Anttonen, 2002). He works currently at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies.
Table of Contents
1 PREFACE, OR HOW I SAID GOODBYE TO AN ABSENT-MINDED STUDY OF RELIGIONMy personal story and its implications.1. WHAT IS IT LIKE TO BE A BELIEVER? How explanation and understanding can be combined to provide a rational account of the subjective experience of