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Stages of Thought : The Co-Evolution of Religious Thought and Science - Michael Horace Barnes

Stages of Thought

The Co-Evolution of Religious Thought and Science

Hardcover Published: 1st June 2000
ISBN: 9780195133899
Number Of Pages: 344

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In Stages of Thought, Michael Barnes examines a pattern of cognitive development that has evolved over thousands of years--a pattern manifest in both science and religion. He describes how the major world cultures built upon our natural human language skills to add literacy, logic, and, now, a highly critical self-awareness. In tracing the histories of both scientific and religious thought, Barnes shows why we think the way that we do today.
Although religious and scientific modes of thought are often portrayed as contradictory-one is highly rational while the other appeals to tradition and faith-Barnes argues that they evolved together and are actually complementary. Using the developmental thought of Piaget, he argues that cultures develop like individuals in that both learn easier cognitive skills first and master the harder ones later. This is especially true, says Barnes, because the harder ones often require first the creation of cognitive technology like writing or formal logic as well as the creation of social institutions that teach and sustain those skills. Barnes goes on to delineate the successive stages of the co-evolution of religious and scientific thought in the West, from the preliterate cultures of antiquity up to the present time. Along the way, he covers topics such as the impact of literacy on human modes of thought; the development of formalized logic and philosophical reflections; the emergence of an explicitly rational science; the birth of formal theologies; and, more recently, the growth of modern empirical science.
This groundbreaking book offers a thorough and persuasive argument in favor of the development of modes of thought across cultures. It will serve as an invaluable resource for historians of religion, philosophers and historians of science, and anyone interested in the relationship between religion and science.

Industry Reviews

"Well documented and broadly convincing.... [Barnes] has an admirable habit of taking his critics seriously, itself an inducement to take his carefully measured answers equally seriously."--Times Literary Supplement "I doubt that I will be able to get the book out of my mind, because its implications for the science-religion interface where I work are so profound and pervasive. Whether I am thinking about the nature of myth, the concept of God, or the differences between religion and theology, the argument presented here will be impossible to dismiss." --The Journal of Religion "What is the undergirding fondation for the panoply of religious faiths? Michael Horace Barnes...argues in Stages of Thought that the commonality is to be found in the thinking process itself."--ashington Post "...well documented and broadly convincing..."--TLS "Books on the proper relation between religion and science have proliferated in recent years. Michael Barnes offers here one of the more provocative hypotheses to come out of this intellectual ferment."--Theological Studies "This is a fascinating treatise on human cognitive development over the course of cultural history. Exploring ideas of Jean Piaget, Robert Bellah, James Fowler, Karl Jaspers and countless others, Michael Barnes skillfully prepares the reader to think in a fresh and deep way about the complex relationship between science and religion in terms of his central thesis that there are distinct "stages" in the historical unfolding of human cognition. This book is compelling reading, and remains informed throughout by an enormous breadth of scholarship."--John F. Haught, Georgetown University "Stages of Thought represents a subtle adaptation of Piagetian theories of cognitive development to the history of scientific and religious thought. It is certain to precipitate considerable controversy among historians of science, historians of religion, anthropologists, and cognitive and developmental psychologists. Not only does it demonstrate that there are real problems to solve and substantial processes to explain about cultural evolution, but it also shows that religious thought exemplifies the same underlying patterns of development as scientific thought.... This book is a gem."--E. Thomas Lawson, Western Michigan University "In this book, Michael Barnes traces the historical development of religious and scientific forms of thought in an attempt to make sense of the cognitive condition of modern society. Unlike modern Comteans who see religious reflection as an early stage in the development of human thought, Barnes sees parallels between the evolution of religious and scientific modes of thought. In tracking this co-evolution, he provides a fresh approach and raises important questions that students of religion ought not to ignore."--Donald Wiebe, Trinity College "Well documented and broadly convincing.... [Barnes] has an admirable habit of taking his critics seriously, itself an inducement to take his carefully measured answers equally seriously."--Times Literary Supplement "I doubt that I will be able to get the book out of my mind, because its implications for the science-religion interface where I work are so profound and pervasive. Whether I am thinking about the nature of myth, the concept of God, or the differences between religion and theology, the argument presented here will be impossible to dismiss." --The Journal of Religion

Prefacep. v
Acknowledgmentsp. vii
Introductionp. 3
Culture and Cognitionp. 15
Addressing the Criticsp. 34
Cognitive Styles in Primitive Culturesp. 53
Archaic Thought, Preliterate and Literatep. 78
The Axial Age and the Classical Style of Thoughtp. 93
Philosophy, Religion, and Science in Western Antiquityp. 112
The Decline and Recovery of Classical Rationality in the Westp. 132
Early Modern Models of Reality in Science and Religionp. 152
The Method of Modern Empirical Sciencep. 175
Religious Responses to Modern Sciencep. 200
Notesp. 233
Bibliographyp. 298
Indexp. 323
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780195133899
ISBN-10: 0195133897
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 344
Published: 1st June 2000
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.81 x 16.87  x 2.67
Weight (kg): 0.62

Earn 269 Qantas Points
on this Book