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Putting Cognition and Culture Back Together Again: Religion in Mind and Society

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Abstract The cognitive science of religion tries to explain how human mental architecture canalizes the spread of cultural ideas. Co-evolutionary theories aim at explaining the cultural stability of ideas and practices by constructing models of social behavior. I try to show that both research programs provide useful insights for the construction of mechanical explanations of the mental representation and transmission of religious ideas. Combining cognitive predispositions and their expression in forms of social behavior paves way for a more integrated explanatory framework.

Affiliations: 1: The Study of Religions P.O. Box 59 (Unioninkatu 38 E), 00014, University Of Helsinki Finland ilkka.pyysiainen@helsinki.fi

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