Is Religion a Necessary Condition for the Emergence of Knowledge? Some Explanatory Hypotheses
Keywords:the evolutionist paradox of knowledge, religion, knowledge, evolution, Gettier issues,
AbstractBy using the general investigation framework offered by the cognitive science of religion (CSR), I analyse religion as a necessary condition for the evolutionary path of knowledge. The main argument is the "paradox of the birth of knowledge": in order to get to the meaning of the part, a sense context is needed; but a sense of the whole presupposes the sense (meaning) of the parts. Religion proposes solutions to escape this paradox, based on the imagination of sense (meaning) contexts, respectively closures of these contexts through meta-senses. What is important is the practical effectiveness of solutions proposed by religion, taking into account the costs of faith and the costs of the absence of religious belief. The hypothesis has the following consequences: religion is a necessary condition for the initial evolution of knowledge and the emergence of religion is determined by the evolution of knowledge. The continuation of the solving of paradox is a Bayesian one, using explorations: a sense of the whole allows cognitive arrangements of the parties, which in turn open the possibility of a rearrangement of the whole. The contribution of religion to the emergence of sense (meaning) could be governed by the rule: any map of the world is more useful than no map; any meaning (of life) is better than no meaning. The human mind fills the perceptual and cognitive gaps, some (religious) filling solutions being true vault keys of the entire cognitive construction called the world. Knowledge is conditioned by the existence of an organized context, as the cosmos created by religion by means of explanatory meta-theories supports knowledge by closing the cognitive context and using meaning networks. The proposed analysis is consistent with a redefinition of rationality from the perspective of evolution: the importance and relevance of knowledge is determined by its practical outcome - survival. In the context of useful fictions, it does not matter what God actually does, but what we have done by believing in God. Existence has provided a pragmatic verification of the cognitive solutions that underlie the survival strategies promoted by religions.
Barrett, J. (2004). Why would anyone believe in God? Walnut Creek, California, SUA: AltaMira Press.
Cacioppo, J. T., & Patrick, W. (2008). Loneliness: Human nature and the need for social connection. New York, New York, SUA: W.W. Norton & Co.
Comte, A. (1830). Course of positive philosophy (1st. vol.). Paris, France: Bachelier.
Edis, T., & Boudry, M. (2019). Truth and consequences: When is it rational to accept falsehoods? Journal of Cognition and Culture, 19(1-2), 147–169. doi:10.1163/15685373-12340052
Eliade, M. (1961). The sacred and the profane: The nature of religion. New York, New York, SUA: Harper and Brothers.
Gell, A. (1998). Art and agency: An anthropological theory. New York, New York, SUA: Clarendon Press.
Gettier, E. L. (1963). Is justified true belief knowledge? Analysis, 23(6), 121-123. doi:10.2307/3326922
Gigerenzer, G., Todd, P. M., & the ABC Research Group. (1999). Simple heuristics that make us smart. New York, SUA: Oxford University Press.
Gigerenzer, G. (2007). Gut feelings: The intelligence of the unconscious. New York, SUA: Viking Penguin.
Guthrie, S. E., Agassi, J., Andriolo, K. R., Buchdahl, D., Earhart, H. B., Greenberg, M., Jarvie, I., Saler, B., Saliba, J., Sharpe, K. J., & Tissot, G. (1980). A cognitive theory of religion. Current Anthropology, 21(2), 181-203. doi:10.1086/202429
Guthrie, S. E. (1993). Faces in the clouds: A new theory of religion. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
Hayek, F. A. (2013). The fatal conceit: The errors of socialism. London, UK: Routledge.
Harari, Y. N. (2017). Homo deus. A brief history of tomorrow. New York, USA: Random House.
Harari, Y. N. (2018). 21 lessons for the 21st century. London, UK: Jonathan Cape.
Heidegger, M. (2000). Zur sache des denkens [As a matter of thinking]. Tübingen, Germany: Niemeyer.
Ingarden, R. (1978). Studii de estetică [Aesthetic studies]. Bucharest, Romania: Univers.
Inzlicht, M., Tullett, A. M., & Good, M. (2011). The need to believe: a neuroscience account of religion as a motivated process. Religion, Brain, and Behavior, 1(3), 192-251. doi:10.1080/2153599x.2011.647849
Kelemen, D. (2004). Are children “intuitive theists”? Reasoning about purpose and design in nature. Psychological Science, 15(5), 295-301. doi:10.1111/j.0956- 7976.2004.00672.x
Rossano, M. J. (2006) The religious mind and the evolution of religion. Review of general psychology, 4(10), 346–364. doi:10.1037/1089-26184.108.40.2066
Rotilă, V. (2013). The structure of consciousness: The concept of domain of consciousness. ClujNapoca, Romania: Argonaut.
Rotilă, V. (2018). The evolutionist role of religion; Some arguments. International Multidisciplinary Scientific Conference on the Dialogue between Sciences and Arts, Religion and Education, 2(2), 160-167. doi:10.26520/mcdsare.2018.2.160-167
Searle, J. (2005). Mind: A brief introduction. New York, SUA: Oxford University Press.
Shults, F. L. (2014). Theology after the birth of god: Atheist conceptions in cognition and culture. New York, SUA: Palgrave-Macmillan.
Sloman, S., & Fernbach, P. (2017). The knowledge illusion: Why we never think alone. New York, SUA: Penguin Random House.
Sosis, R. (2009). The adaptationist-byproduct debate on the evolution of religion: Five misunderstandings of the adaptationist program. Journal of Cognition and Culture, 9, 315–332. doi:10.1163/156770909x12518536414411
Taleb, N. N. (2012). Antifragile: Things that gain from disorder. New York, SUA: Random House.
Taleb, N. N. (2018). Skin in the game. Hidden asymmetries in daily life. New York, SUA: Random House.
Teehan, J. (2018). The cognitive science of religion: Implications for morality. Unisinos Journal of Philosophy, 19(3), 272-281. doi:10.4013/fsu.2018.193.09
Tillich, P. (1951). Systematic theology (1st vol.). Chicago, SUA: University of Chicago Press.
How to Cite
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant this journal right of first publication, with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work, with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g. post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g. in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as an earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).
Postmodern Openings Journal has an Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs