Cognitive science of religion and folk theistic belief

Zygon 51 (4):949-965 (2016)
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Abstract

Cognitive scientists of religion promise to lay bare the cognitive mechanisms that generate religious beliefs in human beings. Defenders of the debunking argument believe that the cognitive mechanisms studied in this field pose a threat to folk theism. A number of influential responses to the debunking argument rely on making two sets of distinctions: proximate/ultimate explanations and specific/general religious beliefs. I argue, however, that such responses have drawbacks and do not make room for folk theism. I suggest that a detour through the literature in the philosophy of mind regarding the problem of mental causation regarding nonreductive physicalism can provide a way for preserving folk theism without doing violence to the way cognitive science of religion is being practiced today. More specifically, I believe there is a way of responding to the debunking argument that does not require a rejection of the causal premise.

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Daniel Lim
Duke Kunshan University

References found in this work

Physicalism, or Something Near Enough.Jaegwon Kim - 2006 - Philosophical Quarterly 56 (223):306-310.
Evolutionary Debunking Arguments.Guy Kahane - 2011 - Noûs 45 (1):103-125.
Thinking About Consciousness.Diana Raffman - 2005 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 71 (1):171-186.
Exclusion Again.Karen Bennett - 2008 - In Jakob Hohwy & Jesper Kallestrup (eds.), Being Reduced: New Essays on Reduction, Explanation, and Causation. Oxford University Press. pp. 280--307.

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