How Religion Works: Towards a New Cognitive Science of by Ilkka Pyysiainen PDF

By Ilkka Pyysiainen

ISBN-10: 9004132732

ISBN-13: 9789004132733

Contemporary findings in cognitive technological know-how and evolutionary psychology offer very important insights to the techniques which make spiritual ideals and behaviors such effective attractors in and throughout quite a few cultural settings. the explicit salience of spiritual principles is predicated at the indisputable fact that they're 'counter-intuitive': they contradict our intuitive expectancies of ways entities regularly behave. Counter-intuitive rules are just produced through a brain in a position to crossing the limits that separate such ontological domain names as folks, residing issues, "and stable" gadgets. The evolution of any such brain has simply taken position within the human species. How definite varieties of counter-intuitive rules are chosen for a non secular use is mentioned from various angles. Cognitive concerns are hence relating to the traditions of comparative faith. This book has additionally been released in hardback, please click on the following for info.

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Culture was at first defined as something “superorganic” (Herbert Spencer) and was explained within an evolutionary theoretical framework. B. Tylor and James Frazer were the great comparativists who put forward grand theories of cultural evolution, soon to be challenged by such American cultural anthropologists as Franz Boas, Alfred Kroeber and Robert Lowie, who emphasized that general theories must be based on particular ethnography. ) Tylor (1994) and Frazer based their theories on assumptions concerning the human mind, took religious beliefs literally, and explained them as springing from the human need to explain various natural phenomena (see Lawson and McCauley 1990: 32-41; Boyer 1993a: 15; Horton 1993: 53-62).

Saariluoma has revived Leibniz’s old concept of ‘apperception’ to refer to the conceptual perception or construction of semantic representations.    33 Apperception assimilates the perceptual stimulus and conceptual information in memory into a semantically self-consistent representation, and thus accounts for the fact that people can control the contents of their mental representations. It is apperception that provides the representational system with a senseful structure. ) In this model, the systematic properties are thus to be found on the level of the individual mind.

Public meanings seem to have no corresponding mental representation, which is simply an absurd assumption (Sperber 1996b: 79-81). It is of course necessary to use abstractions in describing the life and practices of a given population, but it is these abstractions that are elusive entities, not the psychological processes that can be used to explain why certain ideas become widely distributed in a population. “Cultural patterns” are abstractions made on the basis of such widely 8 One could of course try to argue that Geertz does not want to explain anything, only to interpret.

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How Religion Works: Towards a New Cognitive Science of Religion by Ilkka Pyysiainen


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