The phenomenon of religious belief has been much discussed in philosophy of religion. However, a priori argumentation alone cannot establish what religious belief is like as a psychological attitude. Recent advances in the cognitive science of religion have paved the way for a new, naturalized philosophy of religion. Taking into account the relevant results and hypotheses presented within these disciplines, it is possible to develop a more empirically informed philosophy of religious belief. Instead of asking whether believing is rational, it (...) is here asked how religious belief is cognitively possible. Combining Boyer's evolutionary account of religion with Sperber's and Cosmides and Tooby's theory of metarepresentation, we get the sort of conceptual toolkit needed to specify those cognitive mechanisms and operations that make religious belief possible. Religious belief is shown to require a unique combination of these mechanisms and operations. (shrink)
Religious Narrative, Cognition and Culture contains contributions dealing with religious narrative and cognitive theory written by some of the worlds leading scholars in the fields of cognitive science, narratology and comparative religion. At the heart of the volume are five papers which serve as sequels to each other. The first paper by the American biologist and semiotician Terrence W. Deacon explores the neurological processes and possible genetic foundations of how language emerged in Homo sapiens. This is followed nicely by the (...) Canadian evolutionary psychologist Merlin Donalds contribution which describes the possible phylogenetic routes in the development of language and culture. His bio-cultural approach is a major theme in the book. The third paper by the British psychologist Chris Sinha brings us to the bridge between neurological and communicative levels. In it he describes the complex interrelations between the ontogenesis and the sociogenesis of cognitive processes and demonstrates how they relate to reason, representation, figuration and imagination. The fourth contribution brings us to the level of narrative. It is by the Indian narratologist Rukmini Bhaya Nair in which she argues for a combination of neurology, narratology and a reworked speech-act approach that focuses on narrative rather than simply sentences. The final keynote is by the Finnish cognitive scientist of religion Ilkka Pyysi?inen. He brings us full round to religious behavior by showing how the psychology of ritual helps make narrative beliefs possible. These five contributions are followed by papers from Danish, Finnish, Icelandic and American scholars of religion covering religious narratives and emotional communication, gossip as religious narrative and area studies of religious narrative and cognition in the Old Testament, the New Testament, the Georgian Orthodox Church, Indian Epic literature, Australian Aboriginal mythology and ritual, and modern religious forms such as New Age, Asatro, astrological narrative and virtual rituals in 3D cyberspace. (shrink)
El diálogo filosofía-ciencia ha tenido lugar gracias a muchas posiciones y actitudes que lo han posibilitado. Uno de los grandes posibilitadores ha sido Ilkka Niiniluoto, filósofo de la ciencia finlandés, que inspirándose en un nuevo realismo denominado crítico y por medio de dos grandes instrumentos epistemológicos ha sentado las bases de una corriente de la ciencia que interpreta a esta como una actividad progresiva y la inserta en un marco con base axiológica.
_ Source: _Page Count 19 The theory of possible worlds has been minimally employed in the field of theory and philosophy of history, even though it has found a place as a tool in other areas of philosophy. Discussion has mostly focused on arguments concerning counterfactual history’s status as either useful or harmful. The theory of possible worlds can, however be used also to analyze historical writing. The concept of textual possible worlds offers an interesting framework to work with for (...) analyzing a historical text’s characteristics and features. However, one of the challenges is that the literary theory’s notion of possible worlds is that they are metaphorical in nature. This in itself is not problematic but while discussing about history, which arguably deals with the real world, the terminology can become muddled. The latest attempt to combine the literary and philosophical notions of possible worlds and apply it to historiography came from Lubomír Doležel in his _Possible Worlds of Fiction and History: The Postmodern Stage_. I offer some criticism to his usage of possible worlds to separate history and fiction, and argue that when historiography is under discussion a more philosophical notion of possible worlds should be prioritized over the metaphorical interpretation of possible worlds. (shrink)
Two recent conversation analytical studies draw contrary conclusions from seemingly very similar materials. Hutchby and Barnett ‘show that, far from revolutionizing the organization of telephone conversation, mobile phone talk retains many of the norms associated with landline phone talk’. Arminen and Leinonen, however, state that landline and mobile calls differ systematically from each other. These incommensurate findings raise the question of why the comparisons between landline and mobile call openings have not been able to determine whether social and communicative practices (...) are changing. It is suggested that auxiliary elements in CA allow the emergence of incompatible findings. The auxiliary assumptions enable authors to construct the phenomenon examined from their chosen perspective. Further, it will be shown that unquestioned assumptions materialize into theoretical notions that guide the research. CA studies seem to conceptualize the relationship between sequential order and sequence structure in different ways, which leads to different findings and results. (shrink)
Ethnomethodology has been torn between scientific and "radical" aspirations insofar as it moves discoursive practices from resources to the topic of the study. Scientific ethnomethodology, such as conversation analysis, studies discoursive praxis as its topic and resource. Standard scientific criteria are accepted to assess the merits of its findings. "Radical" ethnomethodology addresses mundane reasoning exclusively as its topic without recourse to standardized science. I will show that insofar as "radical" ethnomethodology succeeds in bracketing everyday resources, it loses its phenomenon with (...) the very technical skills it uses for this task. This reconsideration enables the development of ethnomethodological social science. Key Words: conversation analysis • discoursive praxis • ethnomethodology • radical ethnomethodology • social studies of science. (shrink)
This is certainly true. Simulationists and experimentalists face equally relevant challenges when it comes to establishing that the results of their simulation or experiment are informative about the real world. But it is one thing to point this fact out, and it is another to understand how those challenges are overcome, under differing circumstances, and in varying contexts. It is here that Marcel Boumans’ contribution becomes especially valuable. He presents an example from economics in which a mathematical model performs the (...) role, not of a representational entity, but of a data sensor. Boumans argues, and I concur, that the manner in which such models are assessed is particularly interesting. They cannot be assessed merely by being confronted with facts about the world, since these models are themselves used in generating the relevant data about the phenomena in question. The relevant strategy for assessing these models is calibration. In other words, rather than being held side by side with the relevant bit of the world, the models are held up against other instruments that are antecedently believed to be reliable sources of data. (shrink)
(1994). European dimensions of Finnish culture: A survey of international and European orientation of Finnish intellectuals. World Futures: Vol. 39, The Evolution of European Identity: Surveys of the Growing Edge A Report by the European Culture Impact Research Consortium (EUROCIRCON), pp. 25-46.
The article argues that all disciplines examining human thought could use certain shared analytical categories. This would not mean eradicating all differences between various approaches such as intellectual history and discourse analysis, but acknowledging that they are examining partly the same basic entities. The article argues that ideational entities in human thought could be understood as concepts, beliefs, and their constellations. The article discusses the views of scholars who have theorized similar categories and shows how these can be studied through (...) historical language use. Shared analytical categories would enhance interdisciplinary dialogue between scholars of human thought and allow more rigorous debates on issues that truly divide different disciplines, such as the explanatory values of human agency and structures. (shrink)
Filosofian piirissä on viime aikoina käyty intensiivistä keskustelua metafysiikan naturalisoinnista ja tieteellisen metafysiikan mahdollisuudesta. Yksi tämän keskustelun keskeisistä teoksista on James Ladymanin ja Don Rossin (sekä osin John Collierin ja David Spurrettin) kirjoittama Every Thing Must Go (2007). Tässä kirjassa Ladyman ja Ross puolustavat, omien sanojensa mukaan, neopositivistista skientismiä. Heidän ohjelmansa on skientistinen, koska Ladymanin ja Rossin mukaan tiede on ainoa tapa tutkia todellisuutta objektiivisesti. Neopositivismi ilmenee puolestaan siinä, että heidän ohjelmansa tukeutuu eräänlaiseen verifikaatioperiaatteeseen. Ladymanin ja Rossin verifikaatioperiaate ei kuitenkaan (...) perustu, toisin kuin aiempien positivistien vastaava, kielelliseen merkitykseen tai suoriin havaintoihin vaan tiedeyhteisöön. Tiedeyhteisö päättää, mitkä kysymykset ja teoriat ovat tutkimisen arvoisia. Ladyman ja Ross esittelevät kirjassaan kaksi metafyysistä ohjelmaa: negatiivisen ja positiivisen. Toisaalta he pyrkivät kritisoimaan analyyttistä metafysiikkaa, jota he pitävät liiaksi irtautuneena nykytieteestä, ja toisaalta antamaan oman naturalistisen metafysiikkansa. Pyrimme tässä artikkelissa osoittamaan, että Ladymanin ja Rossin positiivinen ohjelma on jännitteessä, tai jopa ristiriidassa, heidän negatiivisen ohjelmansa kanssa. Tämä näkyy Ladymanin ja Rossin sitoutumisesta modaalirealismiin ja siinä, miten he yrittävät oikeuttaa sitoumuksensa. Jännitteen vuoksi Ladymanin ja Rossin on luovuttava joko modaalirealismista tai metafysiikalle antamistaan tiukoista vaatimuksista. (shrink)
We review some of the major accounts in the current epistemology of modality and identify some shared issues that plague all of them. In order to provide insight into the nature of modal statements in science, philosophy, and beyond, a satisfactory epistemology of modality would need to be suitably applicable to practical and theoretical contexts by limited beings. However, many epistemologies of modality seem to work only when we have access to the kind of knowledge that is at least currently (...) beyond our reach. Or, in the extreme case, it is argued that even if we knew all the relevant information about the respective domain – or even the entire state of the world – there would still remain a special class of modal truths that would be left unaccounted for. Neither picture bodes well for practical applicability, nor for the philosophical justification of these epistemologies. This is especially the case as we hold that one of the main motivations for modal inquiry typically arises in cases of imperfect information and limited cognitive resources. We close by providing a partial remedy to the situation by suggesting an overall framework of relative modality (RM) that can be used to both unify some existing modal epistemologies and, at the same time, make them more metaphysically modest. (shrink)
In this chapter we examine Moti Mizrahi’s claim that philosophers’ opposition of scientism is founded on their worry that scientism poses “a threat to the soul or essence of philosophy as an a priori discipline”. We find Mizrahi’s methodology for testing this thesis wanting. We offer an alternative hypothesis for the increased resistance of scientism: the antipathy started as a reaction to the New Atheist movement. We also consider two varieties of weak scientism, narrow and broad, and argue that narrow (...) versions of scientism draw unnatural and unfounded distinctions within science. Mizrahi belongs somewhere between these two types, but he commits the same mistakes as proponents of the narrow variety. We demonstrate that Mizrahi’s defence of weak scientism is problematic, once again, due to methodological reasons. As an alternative, we propose that weak scientism should be based on epistemic opportunism. Epistemic opportunism explains the success of science with scientists’ willingness to adopt any methods that demonstrably work. We also show how opportunistic scientism can avoid charges of triviality. (shrink)
This article develops a new perspective on theism that makes the simple juxtaposition of theism and atheism problematic, and helps bridge philosophy of religion and the empirical study of religious phenomena. The basic idea is developed inspired by Terrence Deacon's book Incomplete Nature and its description of “ententional” phenomena, together with some ideas from the cognitive science of religion, especially those related to agency and “theological correctness.” It is argued that God should not be understood as a “homunculus” that stops (...) an otherwise infinite regress of arguments. (shrink)
Some forms of religion may in some cases alleviate existential anxieties and help maintain morality; yet religion can also persist without serving any such functions. Atran & Norenzayan (A&N) are unclear about the importance of these functions for a theory of the recurrence of religious beliefs and behaviors.
This volume addresses the issue of religion and economy in the evolution of human cooperation. Both religious practices and economic behaviour create and sustain intra-group cooperation by providing people with common goals and values. Even if individuals are selfish maximizers of utility, in the end everybody benefits from being part of a cooperative community, the market. The rules of the market are the invisible hand which turns selfishness into cooperation. In the same way, God beliefs constrain individual selfishness and ensure (...) cooperation within the group. (shrink)
It is here argued that 'culture' is a universal in the philosophical sense of the term: it expresses a general property. It is not a singular term naming an abstract entity, but rather a singular predicate the intension of which is 'cultureness.' Popper's view of the ontology of mathematics is used as an analogous example in the light of which the ontology of culture is analyzed. Cultures do not have an independent existence, they are not mere names, and neither do (...) they exist as fixed entities in the mind. Cultures are abstractions made by the mind, which yet are not reducible to the mind. They exist in the form of certain mental operations creating a new level of reality. Scientific study of culture involves both explaining how cultural phenomena are constructed in minds and how these constructions function in cognition and communication. (shrink)
Miracles are real or imagined events that contradict our intuitive expectations of how entities normally behave. Miracles in the weak sense are unexplained counterintuitive events. Miracles in the strong sense are counterintuitive events we explain by referring to the counterintuitive agents and forces of various religious traditions. Such explanations result from the fact that our minds treat half–understood information by carrying out searches in the memory, trying to connect new information with something already known. This is cognitively the most economical (...) way of dealing with new information: we obtain the maximum of relevance at minimal processing cost. (shrink)
Bering's findings about the mental representation of dead agents are important, although his opposition between “endemic” and “cultural” concepts is misleading. Endemic and cultural are overlapping, not exclusive categories. It is also diffcult to see why reasoning about the dead would require a specific cognitive mechanism. Bering presents no clear evidence for the claim that the postulated mechanism is an adaptation.
Abstract In trying to define the difference between conventional and ultimate truth, the M?dhyamika Buddhist author Jñ?nagarbha ends up in paradoxical formulations. Putnam's discussion of Nietzsche's remark that ?as the circle of science grows larger it touches paradox at more places? is presented as an illustration for Jñ?nagarbha's case. No comparison of Putnam and Jñ?nagarbha is intended as regards the contents of their presentations, the focus being only on the logical form of their argumentation. The paradoxical nature of Jñ?nagarbha's doctrinal (...) system is explained to derive from the logical incompleteness of formal systems. The paradox is also explained to work as a direction arrow pointing to what can only be realised in a mystical experience. (shrink)
It has been argued within the new cognitive science of religion that people's actual religious concepts and inferences differ from their explicitly held religious concepts and beliefs; the latter are too complex to be used in fast online reasoning. Natural intuitions thus tend to overwrite theological doctrine and to drive behavior. The cognitive science of religion has focused on this intuitive aspect of religion, ignoring theological thought. Here I try to outline a theoretical model on the basis of which it (...) should be possible to explain the interaction of the intuitive and explicit processes in religious cognition. (shrink)
The distinction between such differing approaches to cognition as connectionism and rule-based models is paralleled by a distinction between two basic modes of cognition postulated in the so-called dual-process theories. Integrating these theories with insights from hybrid systems might help solve the dilemma of combining the demands of evolutionary plausibility and computational universality. No single approach alone can achieve this.
Religionists often presuppose that “mysticism” aims at somehow emptying the mind. In the light of evidence, however, meditation seems rather to consist of ritualized action without an explicit emphasis on subjective experience. Boyer & Lienard's (B&L's) theory of ritualized action as “swamping” working memory thus might help explain the effects of meditation without postulating experiential goals the “mystics” obviously do not have. (Published Online February 8 2007).
Supporters of the autonomy of higher-level causation (or explanation) often appeal to proportionality, arguing that higher-level causes are more proportional than their lower-level realizers. Recently, measures based on information theory and causal modeling have been proposed that allow one to shed new light on proportionality and the related notion of specificity. In this paper we apply ideas from this literature to the issue of higher vs. lower-level causation (and explanation). Surprisingly, proportionality turns out to be irrelevant for the question of (...) whether higher-level causes (or explanations) can be autonomous; specificity is a much more informative notion for this purpose. (shrink)