Rethinking Religion: Connecting Cognition and Culture

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Cambridge University Press, Jan 14, 1993 - Philosophy - 194 pages
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This book develops a cognitive approach to religion. Focusing particularly on ritual action, it borrows analytical methods from linguistics and other cognitive sciences. The authors provide a lucid, critical review of established approaches to the study of religion, and make a strong plea for the combination of interpretation and explanation. Often represented as competitive approaches, they are, rather, complementary and equally vital to the study of symbolic systems. Rethinking Religion deals with the relationship between cognition and culture in a novel manner, and introduces a method of analysis that will have many applications.
 

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Contents

Interpretation and explanation problems and promise in the study of religion
12
three accounts
14
Exclusivism
15
Indusivism
18
Interactionism
22
Three theories of religion
32
II Intellectualism
33
III Symbolism
37
Two complications
96
The object agency filter
98
Ritual alterations of objects
102
Ritual implication of the superhuman
110
A further illustration
113
IV Universal principles of religious ritual structure
121
Substantive and formal universals
122
Functional universals
123

IV Structuralism
41
V Conclusion
43
Ritual as language
45
II Ritual as performative utterance
51
III Ritual as the communication of information
54
IV Ritual as formal system
56
A cognitive approach to symboliccultural systems
60
II On the status of linguistic theory
61
III A cognitive approach to cultural materials
68
IV In defense of a cognitive approach to religious ritual acts
77
Outline of a theory of religious ritual systems
84
II Action elements and formation rules
87
III Applications and illustrations
95
Semantics and ritual systems
137
II Semiotic ghosts and reflexive holism in semantics
138
III Holism with multiple models
148
IV Comments on the semantics of religious ritual systems
157
V Staal and ritualization
166
Connecting the cognitive and the cultural
170
II The theory of religious ritual systems and explanation
172
III Structural explanation
177
IV An integrated approach to cognitive and cultural systems
180
References
185
Index
191
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