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date: 21 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The cognitive revolution reinstated the mind as a central unit of empirical and theoretical analysis and inspired the cognitive science of religion (CSR), which attempted to explain symbolic-cultural systems in terms of innate cognitive constraints. There is an ongoing debate on whether cognition is simply individual mental representations or broader interactions of minds in bodies negotiating natural and social environments. CSR produced significant foundational hypotheses during the 1990s, but it is an open question whether these hypotheses constitute ‘explanations.’ There are at present five significant new directions in CSR, namely neuropsychology, experimental science of religion, field experiments, history, and big data. CSR is an ever-expanding field of inquiry drawing on the methodologies of the natural and social sciences and using new methods and technologies to answer age-old questions about consciousness, culture, social behavior, and religion. In this sense it is crucial to the comparative study of religion.

Keywords: big data, cognition, cognitive science, cognitive science of religion, modes of religiosity, religious representations

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