How Cognitive Is the Cognitive Science of Religion?
Keywords:cognitive science, religion, cognition, conceptual hygiene, predictive coding, cultural evolution, complex adaptive systems
In this commentary on An Introduction to the Cognitive Science of Religion by Claire White, I reflect on how the lack of clarification of a key concept, i.e., cognition, leads to a distorted image of the field. This is because different strands of research can now be represented in a cognitivist context. I also ask to what extent this field is still concerned with research on cognitive mechanisms and constraints and whether the cognitivist paradigm truly represents most of the field. I argue that other theoretical frameworks, such as predictive coding theory, cultural evolution, and complex adaptive systems are recently of importance in the CSR and should be rendered in similar detail as the “standard model” of the CSR framework. I further suggest that some shortcomings in the explicit communication of conceptual definitions may be to blame for theoretical misunderstandings and a feeling of a biased image of the discipline.
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