Journal of Cognitive Historiography https://journal.equinoxpub.com/JCH <p><em><span lang="EN-US">The Journal of Cognitive Historiography</span></em>&nbsp;is the first peer-reviewed publication for research concerned with the interactions between history, historiography, and/or archaeology and cognitive theories.</p> en-US I.Salvo@exeter.ac.uk (Irene Salvo) aparkin@equinoxpub.com (Ailsa Parkin) Fri, 06 Nov 2020 00:00:00 +0000 OJS 3.3.0.7 http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rss 60 Big Data, Cognitive Biases, Horror Tropes, and Think Tanks https://journal.equinoxpub.com/JCH/article/view/18502 <p>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.</p> Leonardo Ambasciano, Nickolas P. Roubekas Copyright (c) 2020 Journal of Cognitive Historiography https://journal.equinoxpub.com/JCH/article/view/18502 Fri, 06 Nov 2020 00:00:00 +0000 Horror Studies between Humanistic Interdisciplinarity and Scientific Consilience https://journal.equinoxpub.com/JCH/article/view/18511 <p>The present thought-provoking conversation engages two accomplished scholars of horror, Darryl Jones and Mathias Clasen, on the multimedia history of horror through their disciplinary viewpoints, respectively, literary studies and the cognitive sciences. Following the publication of their most recent books on the topic (Jones 2018; Clasen 2017), the main theme discussed herein is the possibility of creating an interdisciplinary bridge, and, possibly, developing a cross-disciplinary integration between different scholarly strategies. Other themes considered include: consilience and coexistence between humanistic and scientific approaches; potential intradisciplinary issues around the establishment of an interdisciplinary dialogue; the differential heuristic gains of qualitative analyses through different disciplinary toolboxes; the existence of a bewildering historical array of theories explaining the appeal of horror as a genre and a collection of tropes; the thematic interconnection between horror and religion. The conversation also includes a series of artistic and scholarly suggestions to further explore the topics debated.</p> Leonardo Ambasciano, Mathias Clasen, Darryl Jones Copyright (c) 2020 Journal of Cognitive Historiography https://journal.equinoxpub.com/JCH/article/view/18511 Fri, 06 Nov 2020 00:00:00 +0000 Mathias Clasen, Why Horror Seduces https://journal.equinoxpub.com/JCH/article/view/18512 <p>Mathias Clasen, Why Horror Seduces (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017). 190 pp.&nbsp; £21.99 ISBN: 9780190666514</p> Darryl Jones Copyright (c) 2020 Journal of Cognitive Historiography https://journal.equinoxpub.com/JCH/article/view/18512 Fri, 06 Nov 2020 00:00:00 +0000 Darryl Jones, Sleeping with the Lights On https://journal.equinoxpub.com/JCH/article/view/18513 <div>Darryl Jones, Sleeping with the Lights On: The Unsettling Story of Horror (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018), xii + 181 pp. £10.99/$16.95. ISBN</div> <div>978-0-19882-648-4.</div> Mathias Clasen Copyright (c) 2020 Journal of Cognitive Historiography https://journal.equinoxpub.com/JCH/article/view/18513 Fri, 06 Nov 2020 00:00:00 +0000 T. J. Kasperbauer, Subhuman: The Moral Psychology of Human Attitudes to Animals https://journal.equinoxpub.com/JCH/article/view/18517 <div>T. J. Kasperbauer, Subhuman: The Moral Psychology of Human Attitudes to Animals (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018), 248 pp. ISBN: 978-0-19069-581-1. £25.49 (hbk).</div> Mauro Mandrioli Copyright (c) 2020 Journal of Cognitive Historiography https://journal.equinoxpub.com/JCH/article/view/18517 Fri, 06 Nov 2020 00:00:00 +0000 Adrian Currie, Rock, Bone and Ruin: An Optimist’s Guide to the Historical Sciences https://journal.equinoxpub.com/JCH/article/view/18518 <div>Adrian Currie, Rock, Bone and Ruin: An Optimist’s Guide to the Historical Sciences (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2018), ix + 372 pp. ISBN: 9-780-26203-726-6. $35 (hbk).</div> Kevin Padian Copyright (c) 2020 Journal of Cognitive Historiography https://journal.equinoxpub.com/JCH/article/view/18518 Fri, 06 Nov 2020 00:00:00 +0000 Michael J. Kelly and Arthur Rose (eds), Theories of History: History Read across the Humanities https://journal.equinoxpub.com/JCH/article/view/18519 <div>Michael J. Kelly and Arthur Rose (eds), Theories of History: History Read across the Humanities (London and New York: Bloomsbury, 2018), 264 pp. ISBN: 9-781-47427-132-5. £102.60 (hbk); £35.96 (pbk).</div> Tyson Retz Copyright (c) 2020 Journal of Cognitive Historiography https://journal.equinoxpub.com/JCH/article/view/18519 Fri, 06 Nov 2020 00:00:00 +0000 Kyle Harper, The Fate of Rome. Climate, Disease and the End of an Empire https://journal.equinoxpub.com/JCH/article/view/18520 <div>Kyle Harper, The Fate of Rome. Climate, Disease and the End of an Empire (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2017), 440 pp. ISBN: 978-0691166834, £27.95 (hbk).</div> Greg Woolf Copyright (c) 2020 Journal of Cognitive Historiography https://journal.equinoxpub.com/JCH/article/view/18520 Fri, 06 Nov 2020 00:00:00 +0000 Toxic Theisms? New Strategies for Prebunking Religious Belief-Behaviour Complexes https://journal.equinoxpub.com/JCH/article/view/18503 <p>This article offers a brief epidemiological analysis and description of some of the main cognitive (and coalitional) biases that can facilitate the emergence and enable the maintenance of a broad category of toxic traditions, which will be referred to here as “religious” belief-behaviour complexes (BBCs) or “theisms”. I argue that such BBCs played an “adaptive” role in the Upper Paleolithic and have continued to “work” throughout most of human history by enhancing the species’ capacity for material production and promoting its biological reproduction. However, today the theist credulity and conformity biases that surreptitiously shape these kinds of social assemblages have now become maladaptive in most contexts in the Anthropocene. In order to help address the pressing global challenges our species faces, such as extreme climate change, excessive consumer capitalism, and escalating cultural conflict, I commend the use of “prebunking” and other debiasing strategies in our attempts to reduce the toxicity of theisms in the body politic.</p> F. LeRon Shults Copyright (c) 2020 Journal of Cognitive Historiography https://journal.equinoxpub.com/JCH/article/view/18503 Fri, 06 Nov 2020 00:00:00 +0000 The Rites of the Day of Blood (dies sanguinis) in the Graeco-Roman Cult of Cybele and Attis https://journal.equinoxpub.com/JCH/article/view/18505 <p>The cult of Cybele and Attis was an ancient cult disseminated throughout the entire Roman Empire. Among the rites held by its followers, there were the so-called Day of Blood (dies sanguinis) which, according to the Calendar (or Chronography) of Philocalus (354 CE), was celebrated on 24 March. On this day the worshipers and priests (galli) of Cybele/Attis flagellated themselves until they bled profusely, and with their blood they sprinkled Cybele’s effigy as well as the altars of the temple, while the initiates castrated themselves and offered their testes to the goddess as a real-life imitation of what happened mythologically to the goddess’ consort Attis. The present contribution offers a preliminary systemization of this glaringly maladaptive and quite puzzling belief-behaviour complex in the anthropological and neurocognitive frame of the so-called extreme rituals, highlighting the specific in-group benefit reaped by worshipers and initiates (e.g., community cohesion through costly signalling and credibilityenhancing displays).</p> Panayotis Pachis Copyright (c) 2020 Journal of Cognitive Historiography https://journal.equinoxpub.com/JCH/article/view/18505 Fri, 06 Nov 2020 00:00:00 +0000 Systematic Cognitive Bias in the History of Philosophy and its Cultural Transmission https://journal.equinoxpub.com/JCH/article/view/18506 <p>This article argues influential eighteenth-century thinker Thomas Reid’s philosophical system gets infected with determinable cognitive biases when scientific claims jeopardize his core Christian commitments. These biases are most active, and led reliably to fallacious reasoning, when Reid writes about issues with implications on substance dualism and the human soul, and on the activity of supernatural agents in the material world. Falling into two halves, this article first presents cognitive biases (disconfirmation bias, motivated skepticism, selective attention), explaining the experimental context of their discovery and their sources in emotions. Next, the article walks through a series of textual case studies from published and unpublished writings that reveal the context, operation, and doxastic effects of these biases. Throughout special effort is made to empathize with Reid’s social context and its influence on his affirmation of fallacies in support of his faith.</p> Ryan Nichols Copyright (c) 2020 Journal of Cognitive Historiography https://journal.equinoxpub.com/JCH/article/view/18506 Fri, 06 Nov 2020 00:00:00 +0000 Experiencing the Cosmos https://journal.equinoxpub.com/JCH/article/view/18507 <p>This article is a first attempt to disclose the experiential quality of those silent prayers which Seneca suggests are most appropriate to his readers. Previous studies highlight these silent prayers as being solely ethical and, therefore, entirely unemotional, but a close and rigorous reading of Seneca’s references to them through the lens of a cognitive approach shows these prayers are actually considered as ecstatic practices, indeed ecstatic strategies that – in combination with Seneca’s philosophical framework – facilitate an experience of the divine, even an experience of the contemplation of the divine.</p> Maik Patzelt Copyright (c) 2020 Journal of Cognitive Historiography https://journal.equinoxpub.com/JCH/article/view/18507 Fri, 06 Nov 2020 00:00:00 +0000 An Introduction to Seshat https://journal.equinoxpub.com/JCH/article/view/18508 <p>This article introduces the Seshat: Global History Databank, its potential, and its methodology. Seshat is a databank containing vast amounts of quantitative data buttressed by qualitative nuance for a large sample of historical and archaeological polities. The sample is global in scope and covers the period from the Neolithic Revolution to the Industrial Revolution. Seshat allows scholars to capture dynamic processes and to test theories about the co-evolution (or not) of social scale and complexity, agriculture, warfare, religion, and any number of such Big Questions. Seshat is rapidly becoming a massive resource for innovative cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary research. Seshat is part of a growing trend to use comparative historical data on a large scale and contributes as such to a growing consilience between the humanities and social sciences. Seshat is underpinned by a robust and transparent workflow to ensure the ever growing dataset is of high&nbsp;<a>quality.</a></p> Peter Turchin, Harvey Whitehouse, Pieter François, Daniel Hoyer, Abel Alves, John Baines, David Baker, Marta Bartkowiak, Jennifer Bates, James Bennett, Julye Bidmead, Peter Bol, Alessandro Ceccarelli, Kostis Christakis, David Christian, Alan Covey, Franco De Angelis, Timothy K. Earle, Neil R. Edwards, Gary Feinman, Stephanie Grohmann, Philip B. Holden, Árni Júlíusson, Andrey Korotayev, Axel Kristinsson, Jennifer Larson, Oren Litwin, Victor Mair, Joseph G. Manning, Patrick Manning, Arkadiusz Marciniak, Gregory McMahon, John Miksic, Juan Carlos Moreno Garcia, Ian Morris, Ruth Mostern, Daniel Mullins, Oluwole Oyebamiji, Peter Peregrine, Cameron Petrie, Johannes Preiser-Kapeller, Peter Rudiak-Gould, Paula Sabloff, Patrick Savage, Charles Spencer, Miriam Stark, Barend ter Haar, Stefan Thurner, Vesna Wallace, Nina Witoszek, Liye Xie Copyright (c) 2020 Journal of Cognitive Historiography https://journal.equinoxpub.com/JCH/article/view/18508 Fri, 06 Nov 2020 00:00:00 +0000 Historians Respond to Whitehouse et al. (2019), “Complex Societies Precede Moralizing Gods Throughout World History” https://journal.equinoxpub.com/JCH/article/view/18509 <p>As historians, archaeologists, and database analysts affiliated with the Database of Religious History (DRH; religiondatabase.org), we share with the Seshat: Global History Databank team, authors of a recent study published in&nbsp;<em>Nature</em>, an excitement about the potential for deep and sustained collaborations between historians and analysts to answer big questions about human history. We have serious concerns, however, by the approach to the quantitative coding of historical data taken by the Seshat team, as revealed in the backing data (seshatdatabank.info/nature), as well as by a lack of clarity concerning the degree of involvement of expert historians in the coding process. The apparent lack of appreciation for historical scholarship that this coding strategy displays runs the risk of permanently alienating the community of academic historians, who are essential future collaborators in any project devoted to large-scale historical data analysis. In the present commentary, we present a preliminary critical review of their latest article, “Complex Societies Precede Moralizing Gods Throughout World History” (2019).</p> Edward Slingerland, M. Willis Monroe, Brenton Sullivan, Robyn Faith Walsh, Daniel Veidlinger, William Noseworthy, Conn Herriott, Ben Raffield, Janine Larmon Peterson, Gretel Rodríguez, Karen Sonik, William Green, Frederick S. Tappenden, Amir Ashtari, Michael Muthukrishna, Rachel Spicer Copyright (c) 2020 Journal of Cognitive Historiography https://journal.equinoxpub.com/JCH/article/view/18509 Fri, 06 Nov 2020 00:00:00 +0000 A New Era in the Study of Global History Is Born but It Needs to Be Nurtured https://journal.equinoxpub.com/JCH/article/view/18510 <p>This article is a response to Slingerland et al. who criticize the quality of the data from Seshat: Global History Databank utilized in our Nature paper entitled “Complex Societies Precede Moralizing Gods throughout World History”. Their critique centres around the roles played by research assistants and experts in procuring and curating data, periodization structure, and so-called “data pasting” and “data filling”. We show that these criticisms are based on misunderstandings or misrepresentations of the methods used by Seshat researchers. Overall, Slingerland et al.’s critique (which is crosslinked online here) does not call into question any of our main findings, but it does highlight various shortcomings of Slingerland et al.’s database project. Our collective efforts to code and quantify features of global history hold out the promise of a new era in the study of global history but only if critique can be conducted constructively in good faith and both the benefits and the pitfalls of open science fully recognized.</p> Harvey Whitehouse, Peter Turchin, Pieter François, Patrick E. Savage, Thomas E. Currie, Kevin C. Feeney, Enrico Cioni, Rosalind Purcell, Robert M. Ross, Jennifer Larson, John Baines, Barend ter Haar, R. Alan Covey Copyright (c) 2020 Journal of Cognitive Historiography https://journal.equinoxpub.com/JCH/article/view/18510 Fri, 06 Nov 2020 00:00:00 +0000 Science Wars, Scientism, and Think Tanks https://journal.equinoxpub.com/JCH/article/view/18514 <p>The present contribution offers a précis of the second edition of Nonsense on Stilts: How to Tell Science from Bunk (Pigliucci 2018). The aim of the book is to explore the complex landscape populated by science, pseudoscience, and everything in between, what in philosophy is known as the “demarcation problem.” However, the author maintains that little progress can be done in public understanding and appreciation of science unless we also explore the historical, sociological and psychological motivations that lead people to believe in “nonsense on stilts.” Further, it is incumbent on scientists and science educators to act “virtuously” whenever dealing with pseudoscientific claims, an effort that may be greatly helped by the adoption of a virtue epistemological approach, analogous to virtue ethics in moral philosophy.</p> Massimo Pigliucci Copyright (c) 2020 Journal of Cognitive Historiography https://journal.equinoxpub.com/JCH/article/view/18514 Fri, 06 Nov 2020 00:00:00 +0000 Why Alex Rosenberg — and a Number of Other Philosophers — Are Wrong Just about Everything https://journal.equinoxpub.com/JCH/article/view/18516 <p>There is a pernicious tendency these days among some philosophers to engage in a “nothing but” attitude about important questions. According to this attitude, consciousness, volition, reason, and morality are “illusions,” “nothing but” the epiphenomena of specific neural processes. Alex Rosenberg is a particularly good (though by no means the only) illustration of this problem, which is why his work is presented and analyzed in some detail in this contribution. The general attitude displayed by Rosenberg et al. falls squarely under the rubric of “scientism,” the notion that science (however vaguely and very broadly defined) is the only reliable source of knowledge and understanding, and that all other disciplines (especially the humanistic ones) ought to bow to its dictates. The results are, predictably, incoherent and pernicious, as it is illustrated here via a number of examples.</p> Massimo Pigliucci Copyright (c) 2020 Journal of Cognitive Historiography https://journal.equinoxpub.com/JCH/article/view/18516 Fri, 06 Nov 2020 00:00:00 +0000