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"It's About Us": Religious Studies as Human Science

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image of Method & Theory in the Study of Religion

This article argues that, in order to understand religious studies's debate over reductionism, one should take the social-historical context of the debate and the fteld's subject matter into account. Martin Kusch's work on folk psychology and Ian Hacking's work on 'human kinds' provide an example of how this can take place. The article argues that the study of religion is part of the human sciences and that this area differs from the natural sciences precisely insomuch as the former's subject matter involves a learning reflexive human being. However, large parts of the study of religion exemplify a co-called 'inferior' science-or, as some would say, theology-insomuch as these areas have developed a myopia by looking through distorting Christian glasses. This form of the field seems based on 'knowledge ex nihilo', a shortcoming for a human science because it lacks any conscious reflection on its, and its subject matter's, involvement in society.

Affiliations: 1: Department of the Comparative Sciences of Culture Ghent University Belgium


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