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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abductive abductive inferences acquired acquisition activated Aguaruna ancestors anthropological theories argument aspects of religious assume basis behavior capacities causal connections causal judgments cerning chapter cognitive processes complex concepts conceptual structures concerning conjectures consequence considered constitute constraints contexts counterintuitive crucial cultural anthropology cultural environments cultural representations cultural transmission described distinction domain empiricist entities epigenetic episodes essentialist evidential account example explanation explicit fact Fang framework genetic ghosts giraffes given human hypotheses identification inclusive fitness inductive inductive reasoning inferences instance interpretation intuitive knowledge intuitive principles living kinds magical melan mental representations metaphor models mvet nonschematic assumptions notion objects observed obviously ontological participants particular people's performance plausible possible precise problems properties psychological put forward question relevant religious assumptions religious ideas religious representations repertoire replication ritual action ritual sequences salient shaman similar situations social categories specific subjects sumptions theoretical Tikopia tions transmitted types typically underlying understanding utterances witchcraft
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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