Cookies Policy
X

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here

Religious Symbolism and the Human Mind

No metrics data to plot.
The attempt to load metrics for this article has failed.
The attempt to plot a graph for these metrics has failed.
The full text of this article is not currently available.

Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals. Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book on the BrillOnline platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. Brill MyBook is a print-on-demand paperback copy which is sold at a favorably uniform low price.

Access this article

+ Tax (if applicable)
Add to Favorites
You must be logged in to use this functionality

Rethinking Durkheim’s Elementary Forms of Religious Life

image of Method & Theory in the Study of Religion

The purpose of this paper is to assess Durkheim’s approach to religion and the validity of the time-honoured principle of the social determination of mental representations. The thesis to be defended is that Durkheim was essentially right in understanding religious ritual as a symbolic language. But he was wrong both in his social deterministic theory of mental representations and in his definition of religion as an exclusively social phenomenon. As current evolutionary sciences have amply demonstrated, human mental architecture has been shaped by a long evolutionary process and cannot be easily reconfigured through cultural indoctrination. Two consequences can be derived from this. First, religious ideas can successfully colonise human minds thanks to their ability to parasitize on biologically evolved human cognitive structures. Second, due to their counterintuitive properties, this colonisation can only succeed if those ideas are culturally transmitted through a special language.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Art and Social History (Anthropology Program), University of Lleida Plaça de Víctor Siurana1, 25003 Lleida, CataloniaSpainSalazar@hahs.udl.cat

10.1163/15700682-12341326
/content/journals/10.1163/15700682-12341326
dcterms_title,pub_keyword,dcterms_description,pub_author
10
5
Loading
Loading

Full text loading...

/content/journals/10.1163/15700682-12341326
Loading

Data & Media loading...

1. Banerkee Konika , Bloom Paul "Would Tarzan believe in God? Conditions for the emergence of religious belief" Trends in Cognitive Science 2013 Vol 17 1 7 8 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tics.2012.11.005
2. Bellah Robert Religion in Human Evolution 2011 Cambridge, M.A. Harvard University Press http://dx.doi.org/10.4159/harvard.9780674063099
3. Boyer Pascal Religion Explained: The Evolutionary Origins of Religious Thought 2001 New York Basic Books
4. Carruthers Michael , Laurence Stephen , Stich Stephen The Innate Mind. Structure and Contents 2005 Oxford Oxford University Press
5. Day Martin "Religion, off-line cognition and the extended mind" Journal of Cognition and Culture 2004 Vol 4 1 101 121 http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/156853704323074778
6. Durkheim Emile Elementary Forms of Religious Life 1915 London George Allen and Unwin
7. Durkheim Emile , Mauss Marcel Primitive Classifications 1963 London Routledge and Kegan
8. Gell Alfred The Anthropology of Time 1992 Oxford Berg
9. Gervais Will M. , Willard Aiyana K. , Norenzayan Aran , Henrich Joseph "The cultural transmission of faith. Why innate intuitions are necessary, but insufficient, to explain religious belief" Religion 2011 Vol 41 3 389 410 http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0048721X.2011.604510
10. Hauser Marc D. Moral Minds. How Nature Designed Our Universal Sense of Right and Wrong 2006 New York HarperCollins
11. Kant Immanuel Critique of Pure Reason 2007 London Penguin
12. Lukes Stephen Durkheim. His Life and Work 1985 Stanford Stanford University Press
13. McCauley Robert Why Religion Is Natural and Science Is Not 2011 New York Oxford University Press
14. Radcliffe-Brown Alfred R. Structure and Function in Primitive Society 1952 New York The Free Press
15. Ricoeur Paul Freud and Philosophy. An Essay on Interpretation 1970 London Yale University Press
16. Salazar Carles "Anthropology and the cognitive science of religion: A critical assessment" Religion and Society 2010 Vol 1 44 56
17. Skorupski John Symbol and Theory. A Philosophical Study of Theories of Religion in Social Anthropology 1976 Cambridge Cambridge University Press
18. Sperber Dan Rethinking Symbolism 1975 Cambridge Cambridge University Press
19. Wittgenstein Ludwig Remarks of Frazer’s Golden Bough 1979 Nottinghamshire Brynmill Press.
http://brill.metastore.ingenta.com/content/journals/10.1163/15700682-12341326
Loading

Article metrics loading...

/content/journals/10.1163/15700682-12341326
2015-02-09
2018-07-16

Sign-in

Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Subscribe to ToC alert
  • Get permissions
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
     
    Method & Theory in the Study of Religion — Recommend this title to your library
  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation