Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture, Vol 9, No 3 (2015)

Religion and Art: A Cognitive and Evolutionary Approach

Stewart Elliott Guthrie
Issued Date: 12 Oct 2015


Religion and art both have resisted scientific analysis and even definition. Multi-disciplinary research on these two and on cognition, however, supports particular definitions and analyses of both terms by setting them in a context of evolved strategies for dealing with cognitive uncertainty. In my view, what religion and art most importantly share is their attempt (shared also by science) to make sense of the world, and their Pascalʼs Wager-like strategy (nominally not shared by science) of doing so first by positing human characteristics in non-human phenomena. This necessary, better-safe-than-sorry strategy cross-culturally results in representing the world as humanlike.

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DOI: 10.1558/jsrnc.v9i3.23971


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