Laboratory experiment as a part of the religious studies scholar's toolkit

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Rok publikování 2015
Druh Další prezentace na konferencích
Fakulta / Pracoviště MU

Filozofická fakulta

Popis After introducing the strengths and weaknesses of the social-scientific laboratory experiment, I will focus on its ability to decide between competing hypotheses. I will argue that Religious Studies can use it for the same purpose. As a showcase, I will use the hotly debated issue of religious prosociality, an issue in evolutionary research on religion. Here, rival hypotheses compete for supporting empirical evidence (increased cooperation, generosity, reciprocity, trust and altruism; reduced cheating, etc.). One hypothesis considers religious prosociality to be an expression of parochial in-group favouritism, suggesting that it is a mere by-product of our coalitional psychology. The other sees religious prosociality as extending even to out-groups, arguing that it might be an adaptation. I will use this case as an example of how highly influential wide-ranging theories boil down to empirical testing and how experimental research can in the end play the essential role of an arbiter.
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