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Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit Invited Speaker Series, 2014/15
Is there a difference between magic and religion? And what is it that they have in common? Recent work on the cognitive and evolutionary basis of supernatural beliefs and the practices connected to them has led to some potential answers to these questions. It appears likely that all supernatural beliefs and practices can be understood as cognitive by-products. In other words, that our brains produce them as something of a coincidental side-effect of doing what it is that our brains were meant to do, rather than that our brains should have been shaped by evolution to invent gods or rituals. However, in the fashion of a tinkerer, evolution often makes use of whatever is lying around and in religious traditions supernatural beliefs and practices appear to have been recruited to motivate people to act in prosocial ways. This helps to explain a lot about the relationship between magic and religion, including the often ambivalent relationship religions in the modern world have towards the magical elements within them.
Konrad Talmont-Kaminski is a Distinguished Fellow at the Religion, Cognition and Culture Research Unit of Aarhus University, Research Associate of the LEVYNA laboratory at Masaryk University in Brno, the Czech Republic, and a Professor in the Faculty of Psychology at the University of Finance and Management in Warsaw, Poland. While his background is in the philosophy of science, his recent work has focussed upon the cognitive science of religion, a new area of research aimed at understanding the cognitive and cultural mechanisms underlying supernatural beliefs and practices. Some of his work in the area has been published in Religion as Magical Ideology (Durham: Acumen 2013).
Dates & times
|Date||Time||Add to calendar|
|10 Mar 2015||6:00pm - 7:30pm|
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