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Daniel Dennett's Breaking the Spell: An Unapologetic Apology

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Proposals for a scientific study of religion have never been realised because, Daniel Dennett argues in Breaking the Spell, religion is surrounded by a spell that protects it from the critical inquiry characteristic of other academic fields of study. Dennett suggests two reasons for proposing such a study anew at this time. The first is political, namely, major policy decisions are currently being made on the basis of perceptions about religion; the second is theoretical, namely the establishment of an evolutionary psychology and of a cognitive science of religion which can provide the basis for such a study. Surprisingly, a number of those scholars in the field who are well-known for advocating precisely such a scientific study of religion have reacted negatively to Dennett's proposal. Do their very reactions confirm his thesis that an enchanting spell surrounding religion remains unbroken?

Affiliations: 1: The University of Vermont, Religion Department, 481 Main St., Bington, VT 05405-0218

10.1163/157006808X260223
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/content/journals/10.1163/157006808x260223
2008-01-01
2016-12-09

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