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On Self-regulating Systems, Cannibals, and Cogs That Turn No Wheels: A Response to Joel Sweek

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It's nice to be quoted. It's not nice to be misrepresented. Joel Sweek does both in "Biology of religion" in a recent issue of this journal (Sweek 2002). At the risk of repeating myself one more time, I offer the following remarks on functionalism and cannibalism to correct the record. One hates to keep reinventing the wheel every generation or so, but it seems that the study of religion regularly produces "explanations" that resemble Wittgenstein's "cogs that turn no wheels".


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