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Why religion is nothing special but is central

Bloch, Maurice (2008) Why religion is nothing special but is central. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 363 (1499). pp. 2055-2061. ISSN 0962-8436

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Identification Number: 10.1098/rstb.2008.0007


It is proposed that explaining religion in evolutionary terms is a misleading enterprise because religion is an indissoluble part of a unique aspect of human social organization. Theoretical and empirical research should focus on what differentiates human sociality from that of other primates, i.e. the fact that members of society often act towards each other in terms of essentialized roles and groups. These have a phenomenological existence that is not based on everyday empirical monitoring but on imagined statuses and communities, such as clans or nations. The neurological basis for this type of social, which includes religion, will therefore depend on the development of imagination. It is suggested that such a development of imagination occurred at about the time of the Upper Palaeolithic ‘revolution’.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2008 The Royal Society
Divisions: Anthropology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Date Deposited: 17 Feb 2010 16:48
Last Modified: 01 Jul 2024 20:51

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