Religion Explained

The Evolutionary Origins of Religious Thought

Author: Pascal Boyer

Publisher: Basic Books

ISBN: 046500461X

Category: Social Science

Page: 384

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Many of our questions about religion, says renowned anthropologist Pascal Boyer, are no longer mysteries. We are beginning to know how to answer questions such as "Why do people have religion?" Using findings from anthropology, cognitive science, linguistics, and evolutionary biology, Religion Explained shows how this aspect of human consciousness is increasingly admissible to coherent, naturalistic explanation. This brilliant and controversial book gives readers the first scientific explanation for what religious feeling is really about, what it consists of, and where it comes from.
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Minds Make Societies

How Cognition Explains the World Humans Create

Author: Pascal Boyer

Publisher: Yale University Press

ISBN: 0300235178

Category: Psychology

Page: 320

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A watershed book that masterfully integrates insights from evolutionary biology, genetics, psychology, economics, and more to explore the development and workings of human societies “There is no good reason why human societies should not be described and explained with the same precision and success as the rest of nature.” Thus argues evolutionary psychologist Pascal Boyer in this uniquely innovative book. Integrating recent insights from evolutionary biology, genetics, psychology, economics, and other fields, Boyer offers precise models of why humans engage in social behaviors such as forming families, tribes, and nations, or creating gender roles. In fascinating, thought-provoking passages, he explores questions such as, Why is there conflict between groups? Why do people believe low-value information such as rumors? Why are there religions? What is social justice? What explains morality? Boyer provides a new picture of cultural transmission that draws on the pragmatics of human communication, the constructive nature of memory in human brains, and human motivation for group formation and cooperation.
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The Cognitive Science of Religion

Author: James A. Van Slyke

Publisher: Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.

ISBN: 1409421244

Category: Religion

Page: 178

View: 7871

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The cognitive science of religion is a relatively new academic field in the study of the origins and causes of religious belief and behaviour. The focal point of empirical research is the role of basic human cognitive functions in the formation and transmission of religious beliefs. However, many theologians and religious scholars are concerned that this perspective will reduce and replace explanations based in religious traditions, beliefs, and values. This book attempts to bridge the reductionist divide between science and religion through examination and critique of different aspects of the cognitive science of religion and offers a conciliatory approach that investigates the multiple causal factors involved in the emergence of religion.
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Origins of Religion, Cognition and Culture

Author: Armin W. Geertz

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1317544552

Category: Religion

Page: 488

View: 7183

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Attempts to understand the origins of humanity have raised fundamental questions about the complex relationship between cognition and culture. Central to the debates on origins is the role of religion, religious ritual and religious experience. What came first: individual religious (ecstatic) experiences, collective observances of transition situations, fear of death, ritual competence, magical coercion; mirror neurons or temporal lobe religiosity? Cognitive scientists are now providing us with important insights on phylogenetic and ontogenetic processes. Together with insights from the humanities and social sciences on the origins, development and maintenance of complex semiotic, social and cultural systems, a general picture of what is particularly human about humans could emerge. Reflections on the preconditions for symbolic and linguistic competence and practice are now within our grasp. Origins of Religion, Cognition and Culture puts culture centre stage in the cognitive science of religion.
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Naturalism Theism and the Cognitve Study of Religion

Religion Explained?

Author: Aku Visala

Publisher: Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.

ISBN: 1409424278

Category: Religion

Page: 228

View: 7095

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This book provides a critical philosophical analysis of the claim that contemporary cognitive approaches to religion undermine theistic beliefs. The book argues that such naturalism is not necessary for the cognitive study of religion and develops an alternative philosophical and methodological framework. This unique contribution to discussions regarding the philosophical and theological implications of the cognitive study of religion summarizes the so far fragmentary discussion, exposes its underlying assumptions, and develops a novel framework for further discussion.
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Scientific Approaches to the Philosophy of Religion

Author: Y. Nagasawa

Publisher: Springer

ISBN: 1137026014

Category: Philosophy

Page: 280

View: 6841

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Tackling central problems in philosophy of religion by referring to relevant theories and findings in cognitive science, anthropology, developmental psychology, decision theory, biology, physics, cosmology, the contributors address a range of topics, including divine attributes; God, creation and evolution; God and the universe; religious beliefs.
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Handbook of the Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, Second Edition

Author: Raymond F. Paloutzian,Crystal L. Park

Publisher: Guilford Press

ISBN: 1462510132

Category: Psychology

Page: 698

View: 9669

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Widely regarded as the definitive reference, this volume comprehensively examines the psychological processes associated with religion and spirituality. Leading scholars from multiple psychological subdisciplines present developmental, cognitive, social psychological, cultural, and clinical perspectives on this core aspect of human experience. The forms and functions of religious practices and rituals, conversion experiences, and spiritual struggles are explored. Other key topics include religion as a meaning system, religious influences on prosocial and antisocial behavior, and connections to health, coping, and psychotherapy. New to This Edition *Two chapters on cross-cultural issues. *Chapters on spiritual goals, emotional values, and mindfulness. *Reflects significant theoretical and empirical developments in the field. *Many new authors and extensively revised chapters. *Robust index amplifies the volume's usefulness as a reference tool. A Choice Outstanding Academic Title
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History in the Comic Mode

Medieval Communities and the Matter of Person

Author: Rachel Fulton Brown,Bruce W. Holsinger

Publisher: Columbia University Press

ISBN: 0231508476

Category: History

Page: 408

View: 7007

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In this groundbreaking collection, twenty-one prominent medievalists discuss continuity and change in ideas of personhood and community and argue for the viability of the comic mode in the study and recovery of history. These scholars approach their sources not from a particular ideological viewpoint but with an understanding that all topics, questions, and explanations are viable. They draw on a variety of sources in Latin, Arabic, French, German, Middle English, and more, and employ a range of theories and methodologies, always keeping in mind that environments are inseparable from the making of the people who inhabit them and that these people are in part constituted by and understood in terms of their communities. Essays feature close readings of both familiar and lesser known materials, offering provocative interpretations of John of Rupescissa's alchemy; the relationship between the living and the saintly dead in Bernard of Clairvaux's sermons; the nomenclature of heresy in the early eleventh century; the apocalyptic visions of Robert of Uzès; Machiavelli's De principatibus; the role of "demotic religiosity" in economic development; and the visions of Elizabeth of Schönau. Contributors write as historians of religion, art, literature, culture, and society, approaching their subjects through the particular and the singular rather than through the thematic and the theoretical. Playing with the wild possibilities of the historical fragments at their disposal, the scholars in this collection advance a new and exciting approach to writing medieval history.
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The Origins of Business, Money, and Markets

Author: Keith Roberts

Publisher: Columbia University Press

ISBN: 0231526857

Category: Business & Economics

Page: 368

View: 3057

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To understand business and its political, cultural, and economic context, it helps to view it historically, yet most business histories look no further back than the nineteenth century. The full sweep of business history actually begins much earlier, with the initial cities of Mesopotamia. In the first book to describe and explain these origins, Roberts depicts the society of ancient traders and consumers, tracing the roots of modern business and underscoring the relationship between early and modern business practice. Roberts's narrative begins before business, which he defines as selling to voluntary buyers at a profit. Before business, he shows, the material conditions and concepts for the pursuit of profit did not exist, even though trade and manufacturing took place. The earliest business, he suggests, arose with the long distance trade of early Mesopotamia, and expanded into retail, manufacturing and finance in these command economies, culminating in the Middle Eastern empires. (Part One) But it was the largely independent rise of business, money, and markets in classical Greece that produced business much as we know it. Alexander the Great's conquests and the societies that his successors created in their kingdoms brought a version of this system to the old Middle Eastern empires, and beyond. (Part Two) At Rome this entrepreneurial market system gained important new features, including business corporations, public contracting, and even shopping malls. The story concludes with the sharp decline of business after the 3rd century CE. (Part Three) In each part, Roberts portrays the major new types of business coming into existence. He weaves these descriptions into a narrative of how the prevailing political, economic, and social culture shaped the nature and importance of business and the status, wealth, and treatment of business people. Throughout, the discussion indicates how much (and how little) business has changed, provides a clear picture of what business actually is, presents a model for understanding the social impact of business as a whole, and yields stimulating insights for public policy today.
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Moral, Believing Animals

Human Personhood and Culture

Author: Christian Smith

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199883025

Category: Social Science

Page: 172

View: 1021

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What kind of animals are human beings? And how do our visions of the human shape our theories of social action and institutions? In Moral, Believing Animals, Christian Smith advances a creative theory of human persons and culture that offers innovative, challenging answers to these and other fundamental questions in sociological, cultural, and religious theory. Smith suggests that human beings have a peculiar set of capacities and proclivities that distinguishes them significantly from other animals on this planet. Despite the vast differences in humanity between cultures and across history, no matter how differently people narrate their lives and histories, there remains an underlying structure of human personhood that helps to order human culture, history, and narration. Drawing on important recent insights in moral philosophy, epistemology, and narrative studies, Smith argues that humans are animals who have an inescapable moral and spiritual dimension. They cannot avoid a fundamental moral orientation in life and this, says Smith, has profound consequences for how sociology must study human beings.
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