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  1. The Memorability of Supernatural Concepts: Effects of Minimal Counterintuitiveness, Moral Valence, and Existential Anxiety on Recall.James R. Beebe & Leigh Duffy - forthcoming - International Journal for the Psychology of Religion.
    Within the cognitive science of religion, some scholars hypothesize (1) that minimally counterintuitive (MCI) concepts enjoy a transmission advantage over both intuitive and highly counterintuitive concepts, (2) that religions concern counterintuitive agents, objects, or events, and (3) that the transmission advantage of MCI concepts makes them more likely to be found in the world’s religions than other kinds of concepts. We hypothesized that the memorability of many MCI supernatural concepts was due in large part to other characteristics they possess, such (...)
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  2. Evil Intuitions? The Problem of Evil, Experimental Philosophy, and the Need for Psychological Research.Ian M. Church, Rebecca Carlson & Justin Barrett - forthcoming - Journal of Psychology and Theology.
    The primary aim of this paper is to highlight, at least in short, how the resources of experimental philosophy could be fruitfully applied to the evidential problem of evil. To do this, we will consider two of the most influential and archetypal formulations of the problem: William L. Rowe’s article, “The Problem of Evil and Some Varieties of Atheism” (1979). and Paul Draper’s article, “Pain and Pleasure: An Evidential Problem for Theists” (1989). We will consider the relevance of experimental philosophy (...)
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  3. Does "Think" Mean the Same Thing as "Believe"? Insights Into Religious Cognition.Larisa Heiphetz, Casey Landers & Neil Van Leeuwen - forthcoming - Psychology of Religion and Spirituality.
    When someone says she believes that God exists, is she expressing the same kind of mental state as when she says she thinks that a lake bigger than Lake Michigan exists⎯i.e., does she refer to the same kind of cognitive attitude in both cases? Using evidence from linguistic corpora (Study 1) and behavioral experiments (Studies 2-4), the current work provides evidence that individuals typically use the word “believe” more in conjunction with statements about religious credences and “think” more in conjunction (...)
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  4. Cognitive Science of Religion and the Nature of the Divine: A Pluralist Non-Confessional Approach.Johan De Smedt & Helen De Cruz - 2020 - In Jerry L. Martin (ed.), Theology without walls: The transreligious imperative. New York, USA: Taylor and Francis. pp. 128-137.
    According to cognitive science of religion (CSR) people naturally veer toward beliefs that are quite divergent from Anselmian monotheism or Christian theism. Some authors have taken this view as a starting point for a debunking argument against religion, while others have tried to vindicate Christian theism by appeal to the noetic effects of sin or the Fall. In this paper, we ask what theologians can learn from CSR about the nature of the divine, by looking at the CSR literature and (...)
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  5. If Analytic Philosophy of Religion is Sick, Can It Be Cured?Moti Mizrahi - 2020 - Religious Studies 56 (4):558-577.
    In this paper, I argue that, if ‘the overrepresentation of Christian theists in analytic philosophy of religion is unhealthy for the field, since they would be too much influenced by prior beliefs when evaluating religious arguments’ (De Cruz and De Smedt (2016), 119), then a first step toward a potential remedy is this: analytic philosophers of religion need to restructure their analytical tasks. For one way to mitigate the effects of confirmation bias, which may be influencing how analytic philosophers of (...)
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  6. Religious Disagreement.Helen De Cruz - 2019 - Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    This Element examines what we can learn from religious disagreement, focusing on disagreement with possible selves and former selves, the epistemic significance of religious agreement, the problem of disagreements between religious experts, and the significance of philosophy of religion. Helen De Cruz shows how religious beliefs of others constitute significant higher-order evidence. At the same time, she advises that we should not necessarily become agnostic about all religious matters, because our cognitive background colors the way we evaluate evidence. This allows (...)
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  7. Computer Modeling in Philosophy of Religion.F. LeRon Shults - 2019 - Open Philosophy 2 (1):108-125.
    How might philosophy of religion be impacted by developments in computational modeling and social simulation? After briefly describing some of the content and context biases that have shaped traditional philosophy of religion, this article provides examples of computational models that illustrate the explanatory power of conceptually clear and empirically validated causal architectures informed by the bio-cultural sciences. It also outlines some of the material implications of these developments for broader metaphysical and metaethical discussions in philosophy. Computer modeling and simulation can (...)
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  8. Atheism in the American Animal Rights Movement: An Invisible Majority.Corey Lee Wrenn - 2019 - Environmental Values 28 (6):715-739.
    Previous research has alluded to the predominance of atheism in participant pools of the Nonhuman Animal rights movement, as well as the correlation between atheism and support for anti-speciesism, but no study to date has independently examined this demographic. This article presents a profile of 210 atheists and agnostics, derived from a larger survey of 287 American vegans conducted in early 2017. Results demonstrate that atheists constitute one of the movement's largest demographics, and that atheist and agnostic vegans are more (...)
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  9. Religious Beliefs and Philosophical Views: A Qualitative Study.Helen De Cruz - 2018 - Res Philosophica 95 (3):477-504.
    Philosophy of religion is often regarded as a philosophical discipline in which irrelevant influences, such as upbringing and education, play a pernicious role. This paper presents results of a qualitative survey among academic philosophers of religion to examine the role of such factors in their work. In light of these findings, I address two questions: an empirical one (whether philosophers of religion are influenced by irrelevant factors in forming their philosophical attitudes) and an epistemological one (whether the influence of irrelevant (...)
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  10. Idolatry, Indifference, and the Scientific Study of Religion: Two New Humean Arguments.Daniel Linford - 2018 - Religious Studies:1-21.
    We utilize contemporary cognitive and social science of religion to defend a controversial thesis: the human cognitive apparatus gratuitously inclines humans to religious activity oriented around entities other than the God of classical theism. Using this thesis, we update and defend two arguments drawn from David Hume: (i) the argument from idolatry, which argues that the God of classical theism does not exist, and (ii) the argument from indifference, which argues that if the God of classical theism exists, God is (...)
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  11. Introduction.Hans Van Eyghen, Rik Peels & Gijsbert Van den Brink - 2018 - In Hans Van Eyghen, Rik Peels & Gijsbert BVan den Brink (eds.), New Developments in the Cognitive Science of Religion - The Rationality of Religious Belief. Dordrecht: Springer.
    Introduction for 'New Developments in Cognitive Science of Religion - The Rationality of Religious Belief' forthcoming with Springer. We discuss the philosophical debate over Cognitive Science of Religion and give an outline of the book.
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  12. The Factual Belief Fallacy.Neil Van Leeuwen - 2018 - Contemporary Pragmatism (eds. T. Coleman & J. Jong):319-343.
    This paper explains a fallacy that often arises in theorizing about human minds. I call it the Factual Belief Fallacy. The Fallacy, roughly, involves drawing conclusions about human psychology that improperly ignore the large backgrounds of mostly accurate factual beliefs people have. The Factual Belief Fallacy has led to significant mistakes in both philosophy of mind and cognitive science of religion. Avoiding it helps us better see the difference between factual belief and religious credence; seeing that difference in turn enables (...)
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  13. Religious Disagreement: An Empirical Study Among Academic Philosophers.Helen De Cruz - 2017 - Episteme 14 (1).
    Religious disagreement is an emerging topic of interest in social epistemology. Little is known about how philosophers react to religious disagreements in a professional context, or how they think one should respond to disagreement. This paper presents results of an empirical study on religious disagreement among philosophers. Results indicate that personal religious beliefs, philosophical training, and recent changes in religious outlook have a significant impact on philosophers' assessments of religious disagreement. They regard peer disagreement about religion as common, and most (...)
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  14. Most Peers Don’T Believe It, Hence It Is Probably False.René van Woudenberg & Hans van Eyghen - 2017 - European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 9 (4):87-112.
    Rob Lovering has recently argued that since theists have been unable, by means of philosophical arguments, to convince 85 percent of professional philosophers that God exists, at least one of their defining beliefs must be either false or meaningless. This paper is a critical examination of his argument. First we present Lovering’s argument and point out its salient features. Next we explain why the argument’s conclusion is entirely acceptable for theists, even if, as we show, there are multiple problems with (...)
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  15. Advances in Religion, Cognitive Science, and Experimental Philosophy.Helen De Cruz & Ryan Nichols (eds.) - 2016 - Bloomsbury Academic.
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  16. How Children and Adults Represent God's Mind.Larisa Heiphetz, Jonathan D. Lane, Adam Waytz & Liane L. Young - 2016 - Cognitive Science 40 (1):121-144.
    For centuries, humans have contemplated the minds of gods. Research on religious cognition is spread across sub-disciplines, making it difficult to gain a complete understanding of how people reason about gods' minds. We integrate approaches from cognitive, developmental, and social psychology and neuroscience to illuminate the origins of religious cognition. First, we show that although adults explicitly discriminate supernatural minds from human minds, their implicit responses reveal far less discrimination. Next, we demonstrate that children's religious cognition often matches adults' implicit (...)
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  17. Chinese Philosophy as Experimental Philosophy.Ryan Nichols & Hagop Sarkissian - 2016 - In Sor-Hoon Tan (ed.), The Bloomsbury Research Handbook of Chinese Philosophy Methodologies. pp. 353-366.
    In this chapter, we outline the methods and aims of experimental philosophy as a methodological movement within philosophy, and suggest ways in which it may be employed in the study of Chinese philosophy.
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  18. Attributes of God: Conceptual Foundations of a Foundational Belief.Andrew Shtulman & Marjaana Lindeman - 2016 - Cognitive Science 40 (3):635-670.
    Anthropomorphism, or the attribution of human properties to nonhuman entities, is often posited as an explanation for the origin and nature of God concepts, but it remains unclear which human properties we tend to attribute to God and under what conditions. In three studies, participants decided whether two types of human properties—psychological properties and physiological properties—could or could not be attributed to God. In Study 1, participants made significantly more psychological attributions than physiological attributions, and the frequency of those attributions (...)
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  19. Does Religious Belief Impact Philosophical Analysis?Kevin P. Tobia - 2016 - Religion, Brain and Behavior 6 (1):56-66.
    One popular conception of natural theology holds that certain purely rational arguments are insulated from empirical inquiry and independently establish conclusions that provide evidence, justification, or proof of God’s existence. Yet, some raise suspicions that philosophers and theologians’ personal religious beliefs inappropriately affect these kinds of arguments. I present an experimental test of whether philosophers and theologians’ argument analysis is influenced by religious commitments. The empirical findings suggest religious belief affects philosophical analysis and offer a challenge to theists and atheists, (...)
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  20. Cognitive Science of Religion and the Study of Theological Concepts.Helen De Cruz - 2014 - Topoi 33 (2):487-497.
    The cultural transmission of theological concepts remains an underexplored topic in the cognitive science of religion (CSR). In this paper, I examine whether approaches from CSR, especially the study of content biases in the transmission of beliefs, can help explain the cultural success of some theological concepts. This approach reveals that there is more continuity between theological beliefs and ordinary religious beliefs than CSR authors have hitherto recognized: the cultural transmission of theological concepts is influenced by content biases that also (...)
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  21. Religious Credence is Not Factual Belief.Neil Van Leeuwen - 2014 - Cognition 133 (3):698-715.
    I argue that psychology and epistemology should posit distinct cognitive attitudes of religious credence and factual belief, which have different etiologies and different cognitive and behavioral effects. I support this claim by presenting a range of empirical evidence that religious cognitive attitudes tend to lack properties characteristic of factual belief, just as attitudes like hypothesis, fictional imagining, and assumption for the sake of argument generally lack such properties. Furthermore, religious credences have distinctive properties of their own. To summarize: factual beliefs (...)
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  22. Diagnosing Bias in Philosophy of Religion.Paul Draper & Ryan Nichols - 2013 - The Monist 96 (3):420-446.
    Work in philosophy of religion exhibits at least four symptoms of poor health: it is too partisan, too polemical, too narrow in its focus, and too often evaluated using criteria that are theological or religious instead of philosophical. Our diagnosis is that, because of the emotional and psychosocial aspects of religion, many philosophers of religion suffer from cognitive biases and group influence. We support this diagnosis in two ways. First, we examine work in psychology on cognitive biases and their affective (...)
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  23. Scaring the Bejesus Into People: The Effects of Mortality Salience on Explicit and Implicit Religious Belief.Jonathan Jong - 2012 - Dissertation, University of Otago
    The belief in supernatural agents is a universal feature of human social cognition. Recent cognitive theories of religion might explain the origins of supernatural concepts, but they do not adequately explain religious belief and the commonly costly devotion to deities. Many functional and motivational factors have been proposed, but the notion that religious beliefs are driven by fear of death recurs across the history of theorizing about religion. Some efforts have been made to examine these theories, but various methodological limitations (...)
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