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Evolution, Politics and the Spell of Language: A Critical Analysis of Daniel Dennett's Breaking the Spell

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image of Method & Theory in the Study of Religion

The author attempts to analyze Daniel Dennett's Breaking the Spell as a discourse, challenging its clean-cut division into descriptive and evaluative parts, proposed by Dennett himself. Rather than focusing on the details of Dennett's contribution to the theory of religion, he identifies several apparently inconspicuous concepts distributed throughout the text which form a web of relations functioning as a narration hidden below its surface. What thus transpires is a story of tension between description and evaluation, science and politics, materialism and spirituality as well as other concepts whose uncontrolled dialectics seems to have deprived Daniel Dennett of his otherwise indisputable mastery over his texts.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Religious Studies, Masaryk University Brno, Czech Republic


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