Item description for How Religion Works: Towards a New Cognitive Science of Religion (Cognition and Culture, 1) by Ilkka Pyysiainen...
Modern findings in cognitive science and evolutionary psychology provide insights to the processes which make religious beliefs and behaviours efficient attractors in and across cultural settings. This text discusses how certain kinds of counter-intuitive ideas are selected for religious use.
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Studio: Brill Academic Publishers
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9.5" Width: 6.5" Height: 0.9" Weight: 1.35 lbs.
Release Date Dec 1, 2001
Publisher Brill Academic Publishers
ISBN 9004123199 ISBN13 9789004123199
Availability 0 units.
More About Ilkka Pyysiainen
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.
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Towards a New Cognitive Science of Religion Jan 26, 2005
Pyysiäinen applies the philosophies and theories of thinkers that include Émile Durkhiem, Mircea Eliade, Jerry Fodor, Clifford Geertz and Robert McCauley in this analysis of the cognitive basis of religion. Central themes include religion and culture, religion and society, ritual and emotion, and ethics.
Arguing, perhaps controversially, that mechanisms underlying religious thought and behavior are something that can be naturally explained in the same manner as any other cultural and cognitive phenomena, the author examines how cognitive science can shed light on religious phenomena. After defining the ideas and behaviors to be studied, he argues that cognitive theories of the representation of agency and counter- intuitiveness can make sense of the widespread belief in supernatural beings. The theories of religion of Geertz and Durkheim are examined and criticized as arbitrary abstractions. In the end, Pyysiäinen argues that religion should be understood both as a distinct cognitive phenomena and as being related to other phenomena of counter-intuitiveness revealed in empirical studies.
TABLE OF CONTENTS Preface Ch. 1 Introduction: Cognitive Approach to Religion 1 The Category of 'Religion' 1 The Cognitive Approach 5 Ch. 2 God and Transcendence 9 'God' as an Emic Concept 9 Superhuman Beings, Religion and Science 12 Intentional Agents 14 Counter-Intuitiveness of Gods 18 Ch. 3 Religion and Culture 25 Geertz and the Concept of 'Culture' 25 Geertz and Symbolism 33 Geertz on Religion as a Symbolic Cultural System 44 Ch. 4 Religion and the Social 55 On the Sociological Background of Durkheim's Theory of Religion 55 Religion and Society 59 Religion as Symbolic of the Society - A Critique 63 Religion and Society Reconsidered 70 Ch. 5 Religious Belief, Experience, and Ritual 77 Ritual and Emotion 78 What is Emotion? 97 On the Neurophysiology of Emotion 102 Religious Experience, "Mysticism" and Emotions 109 Ch. 6 Religion, "Worldview," and Ethics 143 Religion as "Worldview" 143 An Outline of Ethics as a Field of Study 158 Religious Ethics 173 Ch. 7 Religion and Cognition: Towards a New Science of Religion 197 Domain Specificity 197 Cognitive Modules 199 Intuitive Theories and Cognitive Domains 208 Is Religion a Cognitive Domain? 215 References 237 Index of Names 267 Index of Subjects 270