ARTÍCULO

Toward an alternative evolutionary theory of religion: looking past computational evolutionary psychology to a wider field of possibilities

Autores: Barrett, Nathaniel
Título de la revista: JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN ACADEMY OF RELIGION
ISSN: 0002-7189
Volumen: 78
Número: 3
Páginas: 583 - 621
Fecha de publicación: 2010
Resumen:
Cognitive science of the last half-century has been dominated by the computational theory of mind and its picture of thought as information processing. Taking this picture for granted, the most prominent evolutionary theories of religion of the last fifteen years have sought to understand human religiosity as the product or by-product of universal information processing mechanisms that were adaptive in our ancestral environment. The rigidity of such explanations is at odds with the highly context-sensitive nature of historical studies of religion, and thus contributes to the apparent tug-of-war between scientific and humanistic perspectives. This essay argues that this antagonism stems in part from a deep flaw of computational theory, namely its notion of information as pre-given and context-free. In contrast, non-computational theories that picture mind as an adaptive, interactive process in which information is jointly constructed by organism and environment offer an alternative approach to an evolutionary understanding of human religiosity, one that is compatible with historical studies and amenable to a wide range of inquiries, including some limited kinds of theological inquiry.