January 23, 2012
Armin Geertz on Cognitive Approaches to the Study of Religion
The cognitive study of religion has quickly established itself as the paradigmatic methodology in the field today. It’s grounded in the concept that religiosity is natural because it is well adapted to the cognitive propensities developed during the evolution of our species. In this episode, Professor Armin Geertz tells Chris why it deserves its prominent profile, and how it is developing.
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You can also download this interview, and subscribe to receive our weekly podcast, on iTunes.Our colleague Erika Salomon has also written a response to this podcast, entitled What we’re learning from the cognitive study of religion.
Armin W. Geertz is Professor in the History of Religions, Director of the Religion, Cognition and Culture Research Unit (RCC) and MINDLab Coordinator of the Cognition and Culture Project at Aarhus University, Denmark. He is currently President Elect of the International Association for the Cognitive Science of Religion (IACSR). His many publications include New Approaches to the Study of Religion (edited with Peter Antes and Randi R. Warne, Berlin, 2004, two volumes) and Origins of Religion, Cognition and Culture (Equinox Publishing, forthcoming 2012).
Professor Geertz’ chapter from New Approaches on the cognitive study of religion can be viewed here. Also consider Religion is natural, atheism is not: On why everybody is both right and wrong, (Religion 40/3, 2010) in which he denies the claim that “New Atheism” challenges the assumption of the naturalness of religion by cognitive approaches. Brain, Body and Culture: A Biocultural Theory of Religion (Method and Theory in the Study of Religion 22/4, 2010) presents a model in which cognitive approaches are combined with their bodily and cultural context.
This interview was recorded at the European Association for the Study of Religions‘ Annual Conference in Budapest in September 2011. Out of necessity it was not recorded on our normal equipment, and we apologise for the poorer quality of the sound this week.
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