The Naturalness of Religious Ideas: A Cognitive Theory of Religion
Why do people have religious ideas? And why thosereligious ideas? The main theme of Pascal Boyer's work is that important aspects of religious representations are constrained by universal properties of the human mind-brain. Experimental results from developmental psychology, he says, can explain why certain religious representations are more likely to be acquired, stored, and transmitted by human minds. Considering these universal constraints, Boyer proposes an exciting new answer to the question of why similar religious representations are found in so many different cultures. His work will be widely discussed by cultural anthropologists, psychologists, and students of religion, history, and philosophy.
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acquired acquisition actions activated actually anthropological apply argument aspects assume assumptions basis behavior beliefs capacities causal cause certain chapter claims cognitive complex concepts concerning connections consequence considered consists constitute constraints contexts course cultural cultural transmission described direct distinction domain effects entities environment episodes examine example expectations explanation fact Fang ghosts given groups hand human hypotheses ideas identification important inferences instance interpretation intuitive judgments kind leads living meaning mechanisms mental mentioned models natural necessary notion objects observed obviously ontological participants particular people's performance person plausible positions possible precise present principles problems processes produce properties psychological question reasons recurrence relevant religious representations represented result ritual rules seems selection sense sequences similar simple situations social categories specific structures subjects theoretical theory tions true types typically understanding utterances various
Page ix - The process of cultural acquisition inevitably operates a selection in the available cultural output. The outcome of this selection is that certain features are recurrent because they are more likely to be entertained, acquired, and transmitted by human minds
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