Naturalism, Theism and the Cognitive Study of Religion: Religion Explained?, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Naturalism, Theism and the Cognitive Study of Religion

Religion Explained?, 1st Edition

By Aku Visala


228 pages

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This book provides a critical philosophical analysis of the claim that contemporary cognitive approaches to religion undermine theistic beliefs. Recent scientific work into the evolution and cognition of religion has been driven by and interpreted in terms of a certain kind of philosophical and methodological naturalism. The book argues that such naturalism is not necessary for the cognitive study of religion and develops an alternative philosophical and methodological framework. This alternative framework opens the cognitive study of religion to theological and philosophical considerations and clarifies its relationship to other approaches to religious phenomena. This unique contribution to discussions regarding the philosophical and theological implications of the cognitive study of religion summarizes the so far fragmentary discussion, exposes its underlying assumptions, and develops a novel framework for further discussion.


'Visala’s careful analyses are a breath of fresh air…' Reviews in Science and Religion 'The prominence of the issues addressed, and the care and rigour with which they are examined here, make this a valuable contribution to the literature.' Journal of Theological Studies ’…a fascinating read with its clear prose and concise argumentation…’ Temenos

About the Author

Visiting Fellow, Centre for Anthropology and Mind, University of Oxford, UK

About the Series

Routledge Science and Religion Series

Science and religion have often been thought to be at loggerheads but much contemporary work in this flourishing interdisciplinary field suggests this is far from the case. The Science and Religion Series presents exciting new work to advance interdisciplinary study, research and debate across key themes in science and religion. Contemporary issues in philosophy and theology are debated, as are prevailing cultural assumptions. The series enables leading international authors from a range of different disciplinary perspectives to apply the insights of the various sciences, theology, philosophy and history in order to look at the relations between the different disciplines and the connections that can be made between them. These accessible, stimulating new contributions to key topics across science and religion will appeal particularly to individual academics and researchers, graduates, postgraduates and upper-undergraduate students.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
RELIGION / General
RELIGION / Comparative Religion