Big Data, Cognitive Biases, Horror Tropes, and Think Tanks

The Future of Historiography between Bold Cross-disciplinary Experiments and Scientific Reductionism

Authors

  • Leonardo Ambasciano Managing Editor, Journal of Cognitive Historiography
  • Nickolas P. Roubekas Department of Religious Studies University of Vienna

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1558/jch.40164

Keywords:

Anthropocene, Big Data, Cognitive Historiography, Religious Studies, Philosophy of Science, Stoicism

Abstract

The present introduction is designed to offer a quick walkthrough of the various scholars’ contributions to the present issue of the Journal of Cognitive Historiography. Among the articles included, two are related to our Extended Open Call for Papers on the topic of “Toxic Traditions: Pathological and Maladaptive Beliefs, Biases, and Behaviours throughout Human History”, i.e., an analysis of the maladaptiveness of theistic beliefs in the Anthropocene and a neuroanthropological examination of the ancient cult of Cybele and Attis. Other articles cover the presence of religious-based cognitive biases and logical fallacies in Scottish philosopher Thomas Reid’s works and the neurocognition of the Stoic silent prayer as recorded by Roman philosopher Seneca. An entire section is dedicated to the critical discussion of both method and theory of Seshat: Global History Databank. The issue also includes a thought-provoking and interdisciplinary conversation on horror studies, a précis, a commentary, and four cutting-edge book reviews. The background to the topic of the call for papers is herein available as an appendix.

Author Biographies

Leonardo Ambasciano, Managing Editor, Journal of Cognitive Historiography

Leonardo Ambasciano earned his PhD. in Historical Studies at the University of Turin, Italy, in 2014 with a cognitive and evolutionary analysis of the ancient Roman female cult of Bona Dea. In 2016, he was Visiting Lecturer in Religious Studies at Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic. He is the author of An Unnatural History of Religion: Academia, Post-Truth, and the Quest for Scientific Knowledge (Bloomsbury, 2019), and of various book reviews, chapters, and articles, the most recent of which is “History as a Canceled Problem? Hilbert Lists, du Bois-Reymond’s Enigmas, and the Scientific Study of Religion”, co-authored with T.J. Coleman III and published in Journal of the American Academy of Religion 87(2), 2019: 366-400.

Nickolas P. Roubekas, Department of Religious Studies University of Vienna

Nickolas P. Roubekas is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Vienna. He is the author of An Ancient Theory of Religion: Euhemerism from Antiquity to the Present (Routledge, 2017) and editor of Theorizing “Religion” Antiquity (Equinox, 2019). Among his forthcoming publications are The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to the Study of Religion (2nd ed.; co-edited with Robert A. Segal; Wiley-Blackwell, 2020) and Explaining, Interpreting, and Theorizing Religion and Myth (co-edited with Thomas Ryba; Brill, 2020).

References

Ambasciano, Leonardo, and Thomas J. Coleman, III. 2019. “History as a Canceled Problem? Hilbert Lists, du Bois-Reymond’s Enigmas, and the Scientific Study of Religion.” Journal of the American Academy of Religion 87(2): 366-400. https://doi.org/10.1093/jaarel/lfz001

Fischer, David H. 1970. Historians’ Fallacies: Toward a Logic of Historical Thought. New York and London: Harper Perennial.

Fraser, Gordon. 2019. “The Twitterization of the Academic Mind.” The Chronicle of Higher Education, 22 March. https://www.chronicle.com/article/The-Twitterization-of-the/245965 (last accessed 15 November 2019).

Godwin, Richard. 2018. “Sonic Doom: How Noise Pollution Kills Thousands Each Year.” The Guardian, 3 July. https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/jul/03/sonic-doom-noise-pollution-kills-heart-disease-diabetes (last accessed 15 November 2019).

Gould, Stephen J. 2002. The Structure of Evolutionary Theory. Cambridge, MA and London: Harvard University Press.

Lakatos, Imre. 1979. The Methodology of Scientific Research Programmes: Philosophical Papers. Volume I. Eds. John Worrall and Gregory Currie. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Lents, Nathan H. 2019. “Maladaptive By-Product Hypothesis.” In Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science, eds. T. Shackelford and V. Weekes-Shackelford. Heidelberg: Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16999-6

Martin, Luther H. and Donald Wiebe. 2016. Conversations and Controversies in the Scientific Study of Religion. Collaborative and Co-authored Essays by L. H. Martin and D. Wiebe. Leiden and Boston: Brill.

Petersen, Anders K. 2017. “The Tangled Cultural History of the Axial Age: A Review of Jan Assman’s Achsenzeit (2018).” Journal of Cognitive Historiography 4(2): 257-271. https://doi.org/10.1558/jch.38766

Pigliucci, Massimo. 2018. Nonsense on Stilts: How to Tell Science from Bunk. Second Edition. Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press.

Rosenberg, Alex. 2018. How History Gets Things Wrong: The Neuroscience of Our Addiction to Stories. Cambridge, MA and London: The MIT Press.

Slingerland, Edward, and Brenton Sullivan. 2017. “Durkheim with Data: The Database of Religious History.” Journal of the American Academy of Religion 85(2): 312-347. https://doi.org/10.1093/jaarel/lfw012

Spinney, Laura. 2019. “History as a Giant Data Set: How Analysing the Past Could Help Save the Future.” The Guardian, 12 November. https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/nov/12/history-as-a-giant-data-set-how-analysing-the-past-could-help-save-the-future (last accessed 15 November 2019).

Turner, Jonathan H., et al. 2018. The Emergence and Evolution of Religion By Means of Natural Selection. London and New York: Routlegde.

Whitehouse, Harvey, et al. 2019. “Complex Societies Precede Moralizing Gods Throughout World History.” Nature 568(7751): 226–229. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-019-1043-4

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Published

2020-11-06

How to Cite

Ambasciano, L. ., & Roubekas, N. P. (2020). Big Data, Cognitive Biases, Horror Tropes, and Think Tanks: The Future of Historiography between Bold Cross-disciplinary Experiments and Scientific Reductionism. Journal of Cognitive Historiography, 5(1-2), 7–17. https://doi.org/10.1558/jch.40164

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Section

Editorial