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Magic, Miracles, and Religion : A Scientist's Perspective - Ilkka Pyysieinen

Magic, Miracles, and Religion

A Scientist's Perspective

Hardcover Published: 3rd June 2004
ISBN: 9780759106628
Number Of Pages: 277

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Can scientists study religion? Ilkka PyysiSinen says that they can. While the study of religion cannot be reduced to other disciplines, it must not ignore what other disciplines have learned about human thought and behavior. In this collection of essays, PyysiSinen shows how findings from cognitive science can offer new directions to debates in religion. After providing a historical and theoretical overview of the cognitive science of religion, PyysiSinen demonstrates how knowledge of the mind's workings can help deconstruct such concepts as 'god,' 'ideology,' 'culture,' 'magic,' 'miracles,' and 'religion.' For scholars of religion or for scholars of the mind-brain, Magic, Miracles, and Religion provides a helpful overview to this emerging field.

Ilkka Pyysiainen's scientific unweaving of magic, miracles, and religion illuminates these universal creations of the human imagination in ways that render them even more awesome to behold. -- Scott Atran, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique Paris, France
Considering the inter-disciplinary nature of this text it is fair to say that it will prove useful to a variety of audiences. Scholars of phenomenology, folklore, the social sciences and humanities, as well as of Pyysiainen's area of speciality (cognitive science), would all benefit from a consideration of this text. * Studies in Religion/Sciences Religieuses *
In Magic, Miracles, and Religion Pyysiainen rejects as too subjective approaches to the study of religion directed to obtaining answers to personal religious questions or achieving an empathetic understanding of how it feels to be religious. He explains how an understanding of the cognitive origins of all human behavior can provide a much more sensible explanation of religion, and his analyses, arguments, and case studies provide persuasive accounts of religious thought, behavior, and experience. This is a genuinely new kind of introduction to the study of religion and it holds out promise for a renewal of the field of Religious Studies with an approach to it that has the capacity to integrate the natural sciences with the social sciences and humanities. -- Donald Wiebe, University of Toronto

Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introduction; or, How I Said Goodbye to an Absent-Minded Study of Religionp. xiii
What Is It Like to Be a Believer?p. 1
A Cognitive-Scientific Perspective in the Study of Religionp. 28
Breaking Boundariesp. 39
Take the Buddha, for Examplep. 53
Religion: A Unique World, but in What Sense?p. 67
Explaining Miraclesp. 81
A New Theory of Magicp. 90
True Fiction: The Philosophy and Psychology of Religious Beliefp. 113
Rituals: Why Indeed?p. 135
Singers of Talesp. 147
Holy Book: The Invention of Writing and Religious Cognitionp. 160
Religion, Science, and Ideologyp. 172
'God' as Ultimate Reality in Religion and in Sciencep. 187
Religious Experience across Culturesp. 205
Do Cultures Exist?p. 219
Bibliographyp. 232
Indexp. 269
About the Authorp. 277
Table of Contents provided by Rittenhouse. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780759106628
ISBN-10: 0759106622
Series: Cognitive Science of Religion
Audience: General
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 277
Published: 3rd June 2004
Publisher: ALTA MIRA PR
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.91 x 15.19  x 2.06
Weight (kg): 0.61