Social Darwinism and the emergence of scientific study of religion : ends and beginnings of theory in religious studies

Logo poskytovatele


Rok publikování 2012
Druh Další prezentace na konferencích
Fakulta / Pracoviště MU

Filozofická fakulta

Popis Using evolutionary theory to explain cultural phenomena is once again strongly contested. Cognitive Science of Religion maintains that cross-cultural recurrences of religious phenomena might be explained through constraints of cognitive mechanisms of human mind acquired in the process of natural selection. In this fashion the question of origins of religion is being asked and answered again. I will address the differences between contemporary evolutionary perspectives and the evolutionary approaches used in nineteenth century study of religion. Through critical analysis of its premises and lines of argumentation I will also map different usages of today’s evolutionary theory, to what phenomena and to what end they are being applied. Focusing on both adaptive and non-adaptive theories I will show that problems arise from inconsistencies to what is evolutionary theory applied to as well as from not having a clear line drawn between what is still scientific and what is already philosophical/theological overstepping. In the end I will argue that in spite of these oversteps it is indeed valid and promising approach. It is a part of bigger theoretical shift within Religious studies usually accompanied by refreshingly clearly stated philosophy of science that calls for new reductionism, explanatory theories, naturalistic multidisciplinary approach and consilience of science and humanities, thus being a revival of Theory of religion-as-such similar to those essential for the rise our discipline, rather than close and detailed studies in a limited areas that shaped Religious Studies since mid-twentieth century.
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