Experimentální výzkum náboženství: Budování výzkumného programu kognitivní religionistiky

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Title in English Experimental research of religion: Building a research program in Cognitive science of religion


Year of publication 2013
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description Cognitive science of religion (CSR) has currently one of the most progressive research programes within the field of Scientific Study of Religion. CSR begins to actively penetrate Religious Studies since the nineties of the twentieth century and stands as a critique of approaches that treat religion as a phenomenon sui generis, that is, something that is fundamentally different from other human activities, and what therefore requires a unique approach. In contrast, CSR argues that religion is not substantially different from other cultural manifestations and advocates an approach that sees religion as a natural phenomenon (naturalism) that is accessible by reductionistic scientific methods used in other disciplines (interdisciplinary, experimental paradigm). Religion rises from evolutionarily developed human brain and its mechanisms (evolutionary theorizing). In this presentation I will outline the basic theoretical principles of cognitive science of religion, about which there is currently broad consensus. These include a) preference for explanations and explanatory theories before interpretative, b) grasping religion as a synthetic category covering a wide array of phenomena that can be broken down into its core elements and subsequently be subjected to scientific investigation independently and separately, c) the integration of methods used to investigate any other non-religious phenomena, or d) a good place to start exploring religion is the human cognitive system, because religion is a cultural phenomenon and as such would not exist without human cognition. I will argue that it is not only possible but also useful to use in the study of cultural phenomena such as religious collective ritualized actions, quantitative methods and to illustrate my argument I will use my own laboratory research on the effects of physiological excitation on social behavior.
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