Helen De Cruz Oxford University
I am a British Academy postdoctoral fellow at the University of Oxford. I investigate how we as human beings – embodied, socially and materially embedded, cognitively limited – acquire beliefs about subjects that seem far removed from our everyday experience, such as in mathematics, science and theology. How do we come up concepts like ‘2’ or natural selection? Why do people so widely believe in supernatural beings like gods and ghosts? I look at the cognitive factors involved in our acquisition of such beliefs and offer philosophical reflections, among others, on embodied/extended cognition, and the implications of the etiology of our beliefs on their rationality.