Breaking the Spell Religion as a Natural Phenomenon

ISBN-10: 0143038338

ISBN-13: 9780143038337

Edition: N/A

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For all the thousands of books that have been written about religion, few until this one have attempted to examine it scientifically: to ask whyand howit has shaped so many lives so strongly. Is religion a product of blind evolutionary instinct or rational choice? Is it truly the best way to live a moral life? Ranging through biology, history, and psychology, Daniel C. Dennett charts religions evolution from wild folk belief to domesticated dogma. Not an antireligious screed but an unblinking look beneath the veil of orthodoxy, Breaking the Spellwill be read and debated by believers and skeptics alike.
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Book details

List price: $19.00
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 2/6/2007
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 464
Size: 5.50" wide x 8.50" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 0.836
Language: English

Matthew M. Hurley is currently researching teleology and agency at the Center for Research onConcepts and Cognition at Indiana University.Daniel C. Dennett is University Professor and Austin B. Fletcher Professor of Philosophy atTufts University. He is the author of Sweet Dreams: Philosophical Obstacles to a Scienceof Consciousness (MIT Press) and other books.

Opening Pandora's Box
Breaking Which Spell?
What's going on?
A working definition of religion
To break or not to break
Peering into the abyss
Religion as a natural phenomenon
Some Questions About Science
Can science study religion?
Should science study religion?
Might music be bad for you?
Would neglect be more benign?
Why Good Things Happen
Bringing out the best
Cui bono?
Asking what pays for religion
A Martian's list of theories
The Evolution of Religion
The Roots of Religion
The births of religions
The raw materials of religion
How Nature deals with the problem of other minds
Religion, the Early Days
Too many agents: competition for rehearsal space
Gods as interested parties
Getting the gods to speak to us
Shamans as hypnotists
Memory-engineering devices in oral cultures
The Evolution of Stewardship
The music of religion
Folk religion as practical know-how
Creeping reflection and the birth of secrecy in religion
The domestication of religions
The Invention of Team Spirit
A path paved with good intentions
The ant colony and the corporation
The growth market in religion
A God you can talk to
Belief in Belief
You better believe it
God as intentional object
The division of doxastic labor
The lowest common denominator?
Beliefs designed to be professed
Lessons from Lebanon: the strange cases of the Druze and Kim Philby
Does God exist?
Religion Today
Toward a Buyer's Guide to Religions
For the love of God
The academic smoke screen
Why does it matter what you believe?
What can your religion do for you?
Morality and Religion
Does religion make us moral?
Is religion what gives meaning to your life?
What can we say about sacred values?
Bless my soul: spirituality and selfishness
Now What Do We Do?
Just a theory
Some avenues to explore: how can we home in on religious conviction?
What shall we tell the children?
Toxic memes
Patience and politics
The New Replicators
Some More Questions About Science
The Bellboy and the Lady Named Tuck
Kim Philby as a Real Case of Indeterminacy of Radical Interpretation
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