Totemism, metaphor and tradition: Incorporating cultural traditions into evolutionary psychology explanations of religion
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Zygon 43 (3):719-735 (2008)
Totemism, a topic that fascinated and then was summarily dismissed by anthropologists, has been resurrected by evolutionary psychologists' recent attempts to explain religion. New approaches to religion are all based on the assumption that religious behavior is the result of evolved psychological mechanisms. We focus on two aspects of Totemism that may present challenges to this view. First, if religious behavior is simply the result of evolved psychological mechanisms, would it not spring forth anew each generation from an individual's psychological mechanisms? Yet, Australian Totemism, like other forms of Totemism, is profoundly traditional, copied by one generation from the prior ones for hundreds of generations. Regardless of personal inclinations, individuals are obligated to participate. Second, it is problematic to assume that all practitioners of Totemism actually believe their religious claims. We propose an alternative explanation that accounts for the persistence of Totemism and that does not rely on an assumption that its practitioners are preliterate or naive because they have strange beliefs. We focus on Totemism as a cultural mechanism aimed at building and sustaining social relationships among close and distant kinsmen.
|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
Dan Sperber (1996). Explaining Culture: A Naturalistic Approach. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.
E. E. Evans-Pritchard & Eva Gillies (1976). Witchcraft, Oracles, and Magic Among the Azande. Monograph Collection (Matt - Pseudo).
Rodney Needham (1972). Belief, Language, and Experience. Oxford,Blackwell.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
William Bechtel & Cory D. Wright (2009). What is Psychological Explanation? In P. Calvo & J. Symons (eds.), Routledge Companion to the Philosophy of Psychology. Routledge 113--130.
Ilkka Pyysia¨Inen (2003). True Fiction: Philosophy and Psychology of Religious Belief. Philosophical Psychology 16 (1):109-125.
Ilkka Pyysiäinen (2003). True Fiction: Philosophy and Psychology of Religious Belief. Philosophical Psychology 16 (1):109 – 125.
Roger Money Kyrle (1930). Animism, Magic, and the Divine King. By Géza Róheim Ph.D., Author of Australian Totemism. (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co., Ltd. 1930. Pp. Xviii + 390. Price 21s. Net.). [REVIEW] Philosophy 5 (19):488-.
Paul Mattick Jr (1990). Beautiful and Sublime: Gender Totemism in the Constitution of Art. Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 48 (4):293-303.
Lee A. Kirkpatrick (2004). The Evolutionary Social Psychology of Religious Beliefs. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 27 (6):741-741.
Anne Warfield Rawls (2004). Epistemology and Practice: Durkheim's the Elementary Forms of Religious Life. Cambridge University Press.
John P. Jackson (2010). Definitional Argument in Evolutionary Psychology and Cultural Anthropology. Science in Context 23 (1):121.
Émile Durkheim (1926). The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life. New York, the Macmillan Company.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads28 ( #133,969 of 1,789,925 )
Recent downloads (6 months)12 ( #68,715 of 1,789,925 )
How can I increase my downloads?