David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
The resurgence of religion around the globe poses a challenge for both empirical and normative social scientists. For the former, the question is whether the terms at their disposal are adequate to comprehend religious self-understanding and, therefore, human motivation and conduct. For the latter, the question is whether those terms confuse or clarify the way in which religion may be brought into public dialog without violating the tenets of pluralism or toleration. How, then, do social scientists of both persuasions currently understand religion? I begin by distinguishing religious experience from other sorts of experience, with a view to demonstrating, first, that the two preeminent terms adopted by social scientists today preference and choice cannot comprehend religious experience. To do this, I provide a brief exposition of what I call the fable of liberalism, in order to explain why the terms preference and choice have achieved the currency that they have and what problems their invocation was intended to address. Second, I consider two other terms social scientists often invoke value and identity and suggest that these terms also are inadequate for understanding religious experience. The first set of terms arises in the eighteenth century, out of the Anglo-American tradition; the second set of terms arises in the nineteenth century, out of the German tradition. None of these terms are able to comprehend religious experience, which antedates these sets of terms by centuries. I end by suggesting, first, that empirical social scientists would do well to reconsider whether terms that arose during specific historical moments in order to circumvent or to supersede religious experience can help them understand human motivation, let alone predict human conduct, whenever or wherever religion is involved; and, second, that the attempt by well-meaning normative social scientists to bring religion into the public sphere by treating it in terms of preference, choice, value, or identity distorts religious experience, and cannot succeed as a strategy for reintroducing religion into public dialog, since religion is not what they wish to render it in terms of.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library||
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Avi Sagi (1999). Religious Pluralism Assessed. Sophia 38 (2):93-115.
Ninian Smart (1963). Social Anthropology and the Philosophy of Religion. Inquiry 6 (1-4):287-299.
Bruce Reichenbach (2012). Religious Experience as an Observational Epistemic Practice. Sophia 51 (1):1-16.
William J. Collinge (1988). The Relation of Religious Community Life to Rationality in Augustine. Faith and Philosophy 5 (3):242-253.
John Hick (2007). The New Frontier of Religion and Science: Religious Experience, Neuroscience, and the Transcendent. Palgrave Macmillan.
Fred H. Blum (1970). Ethics of Industrial Man: An Empirical Study of Religious Awareness and the Experience of Society. London,Routledge & Kegan Paul.
James William Jones (2002). Terror and Transformation: The Ambiguity of Religion in Psychoanalytic Perspective. Brunner-Routledge.
Colin Jerolmack & Douglas Porpora (2004). Religion, Rationality, and Experience: A Response to the New Rational Choice Theory of Religion. Sociological Theory 22 (1):140-160.
Keith E. Yandell (1993). The Epistemology of Religious Experience. Cambridge University.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads15 ( #199,834 of 1,780,590 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #291,765 of 1,780,590 )
How can I increase my downloads?