Rethinking Religion: Connecting Cognition and Culture


This book is an ambitious attempt to develop a cognitive approach to religion. Focusing particularly on ritual action, it borrows analytical methods from linguistics and other cognitive sciences. The authors, a philosopher of science and a scholar of comparative religion, provide a lucid critical review of established approaches to religion, and make a strong plea for the combination of interpretation and explanation. Often represented as competitive approaches, they are rather, complementary, equally vital to the study of symbolic systems.

Table of Contents

Part One: Interpretation and Explanation: Problems and Promise
Part Two: Three Theories of Religion    
Part Three: Ritual as Language    
Part Four: A Cognitive Approach to Symbolic-Cultural Systems
Part Five: Outline of a Theory of Religious Ritual Systems    
Part Six: Semantics and ritual systems    
Part Seven: Connecting the Cognitive and the Cultural