Do Not Judge a Book (Solely) by Its Cover

An Overview and Some Reflections about Origins of Religion, Cognition and Culture

Authors

  • Leonardo Ambasciano Independent researcher

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1558/jch.v1i2.21567

Keywords:

palaeoanthropology, evolution, cognitive science of religion

Abstract

When dealing with the “origins” of all things religious the major risk to avoid is the naïve building of a just-so storytelling similar to the dismantled passe-partout once labelled homo religiosus (Smith 1982). Historically, religious studies and classical anthropology have been most vulnerable to a twofold fallacy, i.e. the narrative form of explanation and the (originally theological) ambition to know the ultimate point of departure of things, as if it were the epicentre of absolute (transcendent) meaning (Stoczkowski 2002). Even after Darwin’s watershed work, these two themes have thriven. Do cognitive scholars successfully escape these old traps today and make treasure of Darwin’s lesson when treating the “origins” of culture and religion? The aim of this paper is to critically review the cover and contents of a new book devoted to the Origins of Religion, Cognition and Culture (Geertz 2013), in order to briefly assess the question at stake.

Author Biography

Leonardo Ambasciano, Independent researcher

Leonardo Ambasciano earned his PhD in Historical Studies at the University of Turin (Italy) in 2014 with a cognitive analysis of the ancient Roman feminine cult of Bona Dea.

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Published

2015-05-29

How to Cite

Ambasciano, L. (2015). Do Not Judge a Book (Solely) by Its Cover: An Overview and Some Reflections about Origins of Religion, Cognition and Culture. Journal of Cognitive Historiography, 1(2), 201–209. https://doi.org/10.1558/jch.v1i2.21567

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Section

Review Article

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