Three leading scholars examine one of the oldest professorships, the Lady Margaret's Chair of Divinity at Cambridge, plotting its development in the context of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century history. The current Lady Margaret's Professor GrahamStanton sets the scene with an introduction briefly considering theology at Cambridge before 1502 and after 1649. In the two main chapters Richard Rex - an authority on John Fisher, first holder of the Chair - deploys new evidence to propose changes in the list (...) of early professors and shows how their appointment and dismissal reflected the vagaries of the Reformation; and Patrick Collinson investigates how the Elizabethan and early Stuart professors continued to be caught up in the religious and political turmoil of the times. There is a complete list of holders from 1502 to the present. (shrink)
Hearing Voices and Other Unusual Experiences examines the long-recognized and striking similarities between features of mental disorders and features of religions. Robert McCauley and George Graham emphasize underlying cognitive continuities between familiar features of religiosity, of mental disorders, and of everyday thinking and action. They contend that much religious thought and behavior can be explained in terms of the cultural activation of humans' natural cognitive systems, which address matters that are essential to human survival: hazard precautions, agency detection, language (...) processing, and theory of mind. Those systems produce responses to cultural stimuli that may mimic features of cognition and conduct associated with mental disorders, but are sometimes coded as "religious" depending on the context. Their approach promises to shed light on both mental abnormalities and religiosity. (shrink)
The cognitive science of religions’ By-Product Theory contends that much religious thought and behavior can be explained in terms of the cultural activation of maturationally natural cognitive systems. Those systems address fundamental problems of human survival, encompassing such capacities as hazard precautions, agency detection, language processing, and theory of mind. Across cultures they typically arise effortlessly and unconsciously during early childhood. They are not taught and appear independent of general intelligence. Theory of mind undergirds an instantaneous and automatic intuitive understanding (...) of minds, mental representations, and their implications for agents’ actions. By-Product theorists hypothesize about a social cognition content bias, holding that mentalizing capacities inform participants’ implicit understanding of religious representations of agents with counter-intuitive properties. That hypothesis, in combination with Baron-Cohen’s account of Autistic Spectrum Disorder in terms of diminished theory of mind capacities, suggests an impaired religious understanding hypothesis. It proposes that people with ASD have substantial limitations in intuitive understanding of and creative inferences from such representations. Norenzayan argues for a mind-blind atheism hypothesis, which asserts that the truth of these first two hypotheses suggests that people with ASD have an increased probability, compared to the general population, of being atheists. Numerous empirical studies have explored these three hypotheses’ merits. After carefully pondering distinctions between intuitive versus reflective mentalizing and between explicit versus implicit measures and affective versus cognitive measures of mentalizing, the available empirical evidence provides substantial support for the first two hypotheses and non-trivial support for the third. (shrink)
This book taps the best American thinkers to answer the essential American question: How do we sustain our experiment in government of, by, and for the people? Authored by an extraordinary and politically diverse roster of public officials, scholars, and educators, these chapters describe our nation's civic education problem, assess its causes, offer an agenda for reform, and explain the high stakes at risk if we fail.
Most academic efforts to understand morality and ideology come from theorists who limit the domain of morality to issues related to harm and fairness. For such theorists, conservative beliefs are puzzles requiring non-moral explanations. In contrast, we present moral foundations theory, which broadens the moral domain to match the anthropological literature on morality. We extend the theory by integrating it with a review of the sociological constructs of community, authority, and sacredness, as formulated by Emile Durkheim and others. We present (...) data supporting the theory, which also shows that liberals misunderstand the explicit moral concerns of conservatives more than conservatives misunderstand liberals. We suggest that what liberals see as a non-moral motivation for system justification may be better described as a moral motivation to protect society, groups, and the structures and constraints that are often (though not always) beneficial for individuals. Finally, we outline the possible benefits of a moral foundations perspective for System Justification Theory, including better understandings of 1) why the system-justifying motive is palliative despite some harmful effects, 2) possible evolutionary origins of the motive, and 3) the values and worldviews of conservatives in general. (shrink)
My discussion in this paper is divided into three parts. In section I, I discuss some fairly familiar lines of approach to the question how moral considerations may be shown to have rational appeal. In section II, I suggest how our existence as constituents in collective entities might also influence our practical thinking. In section III, I entertain the idea that identification with collectives might displace moral thinking to some degree, and I offer Marx's class theory as a sample of (...) collective identification for the purposes of practical deliberation. (shrink)
The One remains, the many change and pass; Heaven's light forever shines, Earth's shadows fly; Life, like a dome of many-coloured glass, Stains the white radiance of Eternity, Until Death tramples it to fragments. At its widest, ‘pluralism’ signifies simply the variety of life, the teeming multitude of forms and entities, the many different properties that living beings manifest. Life is not everywhere the same but impressively differentiated, and without it eternity would be all of a piece, uniform. That is (...) enough for life to stain the white radiance of eternity. But within the multiplicity of specifically human life there are not merely differences. There are tensions, oppositions, conflicts. In contemporary philosophical debate ‘pluralism’ then comes to signify one problematic aspect of this. Groups of people have perhaps always subscribed to very different values, and in consequence favoured very different forms of behaviour from one another, at least on a global scale. But the groups are no longer geographically separated: we live in distinct but overlapping cultures, and get in one another's way to a far greater extent than previously. Shelley's ordered image of the dome may then seem inappropriate, and it may seem unnecessary for death to trample it to fragments. Life is already fragmented, and the practical problem facing us as living creatures is to go beyond the fragments, to achieve at least a modus vivendi in the light of all our differences and incompatibilities even if not the orderliness and cohesion of a dome. Somehow, we have to live together. That is a practical problem which confronts us at every level, as members of families, neighbourhoods, departments, countries and increasingly simply as members of a world-wide human race. (shrink)