The Open UniversitySkip to content
 

Re-cognizing the Mind in the Anthropology of Religion

Tremlett, Paul-Francois (2011). Re-cognizing the Mind in the Anthropology of Religion. Numen: International Review for the History of Religions, 58(4) pp. 545–565.

Full text available as:
Full text not publicly available
Due to copyright restrictions, this file is not available for public download
Click here to request a copy from the OU Author.
DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/156852711X577078
Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar

Abstract

Cognitive approaches to religion in religious studies and anthropology are proving increasingly fashionable of late. The focus of this essay is on “cognitivism” in the anthropology of religion, and in particular the writings of E. B. Tylor, Claude Lévi-Strauss and Harvey Whitehouse. I define cognitivism in the anthropology of religion as an approach to religion that appeals to the mind and to processes of cognition as universals from which theories of — and explanations for — religion, can be generated. The essay engages in a detailed analysis of three cognitive theories of religion. Each theory takes the mind to be an enduring and stable foundation upon which an explanation for religion can be erected. Yet the mind — the foundation — is disclosed through each theory as unstable; it actually changes under different kinds of enquiry into religion. I then sketch two possible alternative theories of the mind before concluding by arguing that the cognizing mind might productively be treated not as a given and natural fact but rather as the product of discourse.

Item Type: Journal Article
Copyright Holders: 2011 Koninklijke Brill NV
ISSN: 1568-5276
Keywords: anthropology; religion; cognition; mind; discourse
Academic Unit/Department: Arts > Religious Studies
Item ID: 29219
Depositing User: Paul-François Tremlett
Date Deposited: 05 Aug 2011 08:23
Last Modified: 19 Jan 2014 04:29
URI: http://oro.open.ac.uk/id/eprint/29219
Share this page:

Actions (login may be required)

View Item
Report issue / request change

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   + 44 (0)870 333 4340   general-enquiries@open.ac.uk