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  1. Robert N. McCauley, Bringing Ritual to Mind.
    By attending to Dick Neisser's principal methodological admonition in an unexpected domain, religious ritual, and his experimental findings in a more familiar domain, flashbulb memory, our understanding of both domains may improve. To consider how non-literate societies, in which some religious rituals may be repeated only once in a generation, transmit religious systems may snap into focus how research on flashbulb memory may illuminate these topics. Conversely, to consider the persistence and continuity of some non-literate, "traditional religions" for hundreds--perhaps even (...)
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  2. Robert N. McCauley, Cognition, Religious Ritual, and Archaeology.
    The emergence of cognitive science over the past thirty years has stimulated new approaches to traditional problems and materials in well-established disciplines. Those approaches have generated new insights and reinvigorated aspirations for theories in the sciences of the socio-cultural (about the structures and uses of symbols and the cognitive processes underlying them) that are both more systematic and more accountable empirically than the recently available alternatives. Without rejecting interpretive proposals, projects in both the cognitive science of religion and in cognitive (...)
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  3. Robert N. McCauley, Explanatory Pluralism and The Heuristic Identity Theory.
    University and William Bechtel Washington University Abstract Explanatory pluralism holds that the sorts of comprehensive theoretical and ontological economies, which microreductionists and New Wave reductionists envision and which antireductionists fear, offer misleading views of both scientific practice and scientific progress. Both advocates and foes of employing reductionist strategies at the interface of psychology and neuroscience have overplayed the alleged economies that interlevel connections (including identities) justify while overlooking their fundamental role in promoting scientific research. A brief review of research on (...)
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  4. Robert N. McCauley, Is Religion a Rube Goldberg Device? Or Oh, What a Difference a Theory Makes!
    Prudence, if not sheer logical necessity, dictates that when discussing something, it helps to have some idea of what you are talking about. This is why even the most experienced scholars periodically discuss their terms. Those discussions rarely, if ever, settle anything more than discussants= (sometimes differing) words for a few readily recognizable regions in the relevant..
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  5. Robert N. McCauley & E. Thomas Lawson, Who Owns €˜Culture’? By.
               No one owns 'culture'[i]: anyone with a viable theoretical proposal can contend for the right to determine that concept's fate. Not everyone agrees with this view. Throughout its century-long struggle for academic respectability, anthropology has regularly insisted on its unique role as the proprietor of 'culture.' Its variety of approaches and feuding factions notwithstanding, it is this proprietary claim that unifies anthropology to an extent sometimes unrecognized even by its (...)
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  6. Pamela J. Stewart, Pascal Boyer, Robert N. McCauley, Luther H. Martin & Garry W. Trompf, Book Review Forum [Page 4]. [REVIEW]
    We are pleased to present the following Review Forum of Harvey Whitehouse’s book, Arguments and Icons: Divergent Modes of Religiosity. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000. 204 pages. ISBN 0-19- 823414-7 (cloth); 0-19-823415-5 (paper). We have given the contributors and the book’s author sufficient space to discuss its themes carefully and thus make a significant contribution to the further analysis of religion and ritual generally.
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  7. E. Thomas Lawson & Robert N. McCauley, The Cognitive Representation of Religious Ritual Form: A Theory of Participants' Competence with Their Religious Ritual Systems.
    Theorizing about religious ritual systems from a cognitive viewpoint involves (1) modeling cognitive processes and their products and (2) demonstrating their influence on religious behavior. Particularly important for such an approach to the study of religious ritual is the modeling of participants' representations of ritual form. In pursuit of that goal, we presented in Rethinking Religion a theory of religious ritual form that involved two commitments. The theory’s first commitment is that the cognitive apparatus for the representation of action in (...)
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  8. Robert N. McCauley, Levels of Explanation and Cognitive Architectures* By.
    Some controversies in cognitive science, such as arguments about whether classical or distributed connectionist architectures best model the human cognitive system, reenact long-standing debates in the philosophy of science. For millennia philosophers have pondered whether mentality can submit to scientific explanation generally and to physical explanation particularly. Recently, positive answers have gained popularity. The question remains, though, as to the analytical level at which mentality is best explained. Is there a level of analysis that is peculiarly appropriate for the explanation (...)
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  9. Robert N. McCauley, The Impact of Successful Scientific Theorizing on Conceptualizing Religion.
    Empirically successful scientific theories are intellectual hurricanes. They flood lowlands set aside for worries about definitions. They carry away philosophical reflections that are less dense than the accumulated scientific findings that give these storms their strength, and they fundamentally reshape the conceptual landscape. The history of scholarship reveals that once an empirically corroborated scientific theory explains and predicts phenomena in some domain noticeably better than the available alternatives (whether those alternatives are scientific theories or not), among experts at least, the (...)
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  10. Robert N. McCauley, The Naturalness of Religion and the Unnaturalness of Science.
    Aristotle's observation that all human beings by nature desire to know aptly captures the spirit of "intellectualist" research in psychology and anthropology. Intellectualists in these fields agree that humans' have fundamental explanatory interests (which reflect their rationality) and that the idioms in which their explanations are couched can differ considerably across places and times (both historical and developmental). Intellectualists in developmental psychology (e.g., Gopnik and Meltzoff, 1997) maintain that young children's conceptual structures, like those of scientists, are theories and that (...)
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  11. Robert N. McCauley & E. Thomas Lawson, Interactionism and the Non Obviousness of Scientific Theories.
    Levine's discussion of Rethinking Religion (1990) and "Crisis of Conscience, Riddle of Identity" (1993) includes some rash charges, some useful comments, and some profound misunderstandings. The latter, especially, reveal areas where we need to clarify and further defend our claims. In the second section we shall discuss the epistemological and methodological issues that Levine raises. Then we shall turn in the third section to theoretical and substantive matters. In fact, Levine remains almost completely silent on substantive matters (except to say (...)
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  12. Robert N. McCauley & E. Thomas Lawson, Who Owns 'Culture'?
    No one owns 'culture' [i]: anyone with a viable theoretical proposal can contend for the right to determine that concept's fate. Not everyone agrees with this view. Throughout its century long struggle for academic respectability, anthropology has regularly insisted on its unique role as the proprietor of 'culture.' Its variety of approaches and feuding factions notwithstanding, it is this proprietary claim that unifies anthropology to an extent sometimes unrecognized even by its own (post modernist) practitioners. The history of anthropology has (...)
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  13. Robert N. McCauley (forthcoming). Psychology in Mid-Stream: A Reply to Bechtel. Behaviorism.
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  14. Robert N. McCauley & Emma Cohen (2010). Cognitive Science and the Naturalness of Religion. Philosophy Compass 5 (9):779-792.
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  15. Robert N. McCauley (2009). Time is of the Essence: Explanatory Pluralism and Accommodating Theories About Long-Term Processes. Philosophical Psychology 22 (5):611-635.
    Unified, all-purpose, philosophical models of reduction in science lack resources for capturing varieties of cross-scientific relations that have proven critical to understanding some scientific achievements. Not only do those models obscure the distinction between successional and cross-scientific relations, their preoccupations with the structures of both theories and things provide no means for accommodating the contributions to various sciences of theories and research about long-term diachronic processes involving large-scale, distributed systems. Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection is the parade case. (...)
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  16. Robert N. McCauley (2006). How Far Will an Account of Ritualized Behavior Go in Explaining Cultural Rituals? Behavioral and Brain Sciences 29 (6):623-624.
    The theory of ritualized behavior should offer insight about cultural rituals. Considering ritualized behaviors' scripted actions and both the frequent absence of anxiety and the routinization of many cultural rituals, questions remain about how much and what precisely gets explained. Among religious rituals, ritualized behaviors arise more strikingly in special agent rituals, but that might be because they usually include novices. (Published Online February 8 2007).
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  17. Robert N. McCauley & J. Henrich (2006). Susceptibility to the Muller-Lyer Illusion, Theory-Neutral Observation, and the Diachronic Penetrability of the Visual Input System. Philosophical Psychology 19 (1):79-101.
    Jerry Fodor has consistently cited the persistence of illusions--especially the M.
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  18. Robert N. McCauley (2004). Philosophical Naturalism and the Cognitive Approach to Ritual'. In Kevin Schilbrack (ed.), Thinking Through Rituals: Philosophical Perspectives. Routledge. 148--171.
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  19. Robert N. McCauley (2000). On the Contrary. Journal of Philosophy 97 (5):297-301.
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  20. William P. Bechtel & Robert N. McCauley (1999). Heuristic Identity Theory (or Back to the Future): The Mind-Body Problem Against the Background of Research Strategies in Cognitive Neuroscience. In Martin Hahn & S. C. Stoness (eds.), Proceedings of the 21st Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society. Lawrence Erlbaum. 67-72.
    Functionalists in philosophy of mind traditionally raise two major arguments against the type identity theory: (1) psychological states are _multiply realizable_ so that there are no one-to-one mappings of psychological states onto neural states and (2) the most that evidence could ever establish is the _correlation_ of psychological and neural states, not their identity. We defend a variant on the traditional type identity theory which we call _heuristic identity theory_ (HIT) against both of these objections. Drawing its inspiration from scientific (...)
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  21. Robert N. McCauley (1996). Explanatory Pluralism and the Coevolution of Theories in Science. In , The Churchlands and Their Critics. Blackwell Publishers. 17--47.
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  22. Robert N. McCauley (ed.) (1996). The Churchlands and Their Critics. Blackwell Publishers.
  23. Robert N. McCauley (1993). Brainwork: A Review of Paul Churchland's a Neurocomputational Perspective. [REVIEW] Philosophical Psychology 6 (1):81 – 96.
    Taking inspiration from developments in neurocomputational modeling, Paul Church-land develops his positions in the philosophy of mind and the philosophy of science. Concerning the former, Churchland relaxes his eliminativism at various points and seems to endorse a traditional identity account of sensory qualia. Although he remains unsympathetic to folk psychology, he no longer seeks the elimination of normative epistemology, but rather its transformation to a philosophical enterprise informed by current developments in the relevant sciences. Churchland supplies suggestive discussions of the (...)
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  24. Robert N. McCauley (1993). Why the Blind Can't Lead the Blind: Dennett on the Blind Spot, Blindsight, and Sensory Qualia. Consciousness and Cognition 2 (2):155-64.
  25. Robert N. McCauley (1992). Defending Normative Naturalism: A Reply to Ellen Klein. Philosophical Psychology 5 (3):299 – 305.
    Rejecting Klein's claims that normative epistemology and naturalism are mutually exclusive, I defend the normative naturalism of my "Epistemology in an Age of Cognitive Science". When insisting that epistemic standards simultaneously external to, superior to, and independent of those of science do not exist, I hold neither that science exhausts standards of rationality nor that relevant extra-scientific considerations do not exist. Cognitive science may transform how we pose some normative questions in epistemology. Concurring with Klein that the burden of evidence (...)
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  26. Robert N. Mccauley (1992). Models of Knowing and Their Relations to Our Understanding of Liberal Education. Metaphilosophy 23 (3):288-309.
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  27. Robert N. McCauley (1989). Acceptability, Analogy, and the Acceptability of Analogies. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 12 (3):482.
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  28. Robert N. Mccauley (1988). Epistemology in an Age of Cognitive Science. Philosophical Psychology 1 (2):143-152.
    Abstract Like the logical empiricists many contemporary philosophers wish to bring the determinateness of scientific judgment to epistemology. Recent efforts to naturalise epistemology (such as those of the Churchlands) seem to jeopardise the position of epistemology as a normative discipline. Putnam argues that attempts to naturalise epistemology are self?refuting. My goal is not to defeat the project for the naturalisation of epistemology, but rather to help clarify what it does and does not amount to. I maintain that attempts to completely (...)
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  29. Robert N. McCauley (1987). The Not so Happy Story of the Marriage of Linguistics and Psychology or Why Linguistics has Discouraged Psychology's Recent Advances. Synthese 72 (3):341 - 353.
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  30. Robert N. McCauley (1987). The Role of Cognitive Explanations in Psychology. Behaviorism 15 (1):27-40.
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  31. Robert N. McCauley (1986). Intertheoretic Relations and the Future of Psychology. Philosophy of Science 53 (June):179-99.
    In the course of defending both a unified model of intertheoretic relations in science and scientific realism, Paul Churchland has attempted to reinvigorate eliminative materialism. Churchland's eliminativism operates on three claims: (1) that some intertheoretic contexts involve incommensurable theories, (2) that such contexts invariably require the elimination of one theory or the other, and (3) that the relation of psychology and neuroscience is just such a context. I argue that a more detailed account of intertheoretic relations, which distinguishes between the (...)
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  32. Robert N. Mccauley (1986). Problem Solving in Science and the Competence Approach to Theorizing in Linguistics. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 16 (3):299–312.
    The goals ofthis paper are to identify (in Section II) some general features of problem solving strategies in science, to discuss (in Section III) how Chomsky has employed two particularly popular discovery strategies in science, and to show (in Section IV) how these strategies inform Chomskyan linguistics. In Section IV I will discuss (1) how their employment in linguistics manifests features of scientific problem solving outlined in Section Il and (2) how an analysis in terms of those features suggests a (...)
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  33. Robert N. McCauley (1986). Truth, Epistemic Ideals and the Psychology of Categorization. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1986:198 - 207.
    Recent theoretical work on the psychology of categorization emphasizes the role cognitive constructs play in perception and categorization. This approach supports Putnam's rejection of metaphysical realism. However, the experimental findings concerning basic level categories, in particular, suggest that robust stabilitites among our systems of empirical concepts persist in the face of considerable theoretical diversity and change. These stabilities undermine Putnam's strongest negative conclusions concerning the correspondence theory of truth (once it is uncoupled from metaphysical realism). The centrality of a correspondence (...)
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  34. Robert N. McCauley (1985). The Moral Status of Apartheid: Can the Presence of Foreign Corporations in South Africa Be Morally Justified? Canadian Journal of Philosophy 15 (4):565 - 579.
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  35. Robert N. McCauley (1984). Inference and Temporal Coding in Episodic Memory. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 7 (2):246.
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  36. Robert N. McCauley (1981). Hypothetical Identities and Ontological Economizing: Comments on Causey's Program for the Unity of Science. Philosophy of Science 48 (2):218-227.
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  37. Robert N. McCauley, How Science and Religion Are More Like Theology and Commonsense Explanations Than They Are Like Each Other: A Cognitive Account.
    No one has explored the implications of cognitive theories and findings about religion for understanding its history with any more enthusiasm or insight than Luther Martin. Although my focus here is not historical, I assume that I will be employing cognitive tools in ways that he finds congenial. In the paper’s first section, I will make some general comments about standard comparisons of science and religion and criticize one strategy for making peace between them. In the second section of the (...)
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