By-Products or By Design? Considering Hearing Voices and Other Matters of the Mind


  • Adam J. Powell Durham University
  • Christopher C. H. Cook Durham University



Voice-hearing, Auditory Verbal Hallucinations, Interdisciplinarity, Explanatory Pluralism, Continuum Hypothesis, Spiritually Significant Voices


Hearing Voices and Other Matters of the Mind seeks to bring the theories and discoveries of the Cognitive Science of Religion to broader discussions of mental health. In doing so, the authors introduce auditory verbal hallucinations as one example of a supposed continuity between religious experiences and mental disorder. Based on up-to-date research into the phenomenological overlap between the voice-hearing experiences of those with and without a mental health diagnosis and those who report hearing spiritually significant voices, this essay elucidates the complexity of presupposing such continuities. We critique the notion that the cognitive mechanisms implicated in religiosity are inadvertent “by-products” of the mind’s operations and propose, rather, that they are the inevitable outcomes of human meaning-making.


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How to Cite

Powell, A. J. ., & Cook, C. C. H. . (2021). By-Products or By Design? Considering Hearing Voices and Other Matters of the Mind. Journal for the Cognitive Science of Religion, 7(1), 73–84.



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