Book Reviews

  • Review: Rethinking Religion
    In this groundbreaking book, E. Thomas Lawson and Robert N. McCauley proclaim the birth of the field of cognitive science of religion by presenting a unified cognitive theory of religious ritual action. In their expression of cogitations that had been percolating among cognitive anthropologists, psychologists, and philosophers such as Dan Sperber, Dorothy Holland, and Naomi … Read more
  • Is the brain a computer?
    Can human thought be understood as an elaborate form of computation? A quick survey of some of the most influential cognitive scientists (including Steven Pinker and Jerry Fodor) and philosophers of mind (including Daniel Dennett and Patricia Churchland) suggests that the answer is yes. This view is the “computational theory of mind” and is so … Read more
  • Review of recent religion-and-science articles in the Journal of the American Academy of Religion
    It seems that conversations about religion and cognitive science are heating up in the American Academy of Religion (AAR), the nation’s largest organization of religion scholars. At least that is what I have surmised from the most recent issue of the AAR’s Journal (June 2008), which devoted a substantial section (about 80 pages) to discussions … Read more
  • Book: The Spiritual Brain
    Neuroscientist Mario Beauregard's new book is titled The Spiritual Brain. He advances a case for the existence of the soul. Is it possible to agree with Beauregard's argument against a flatly materialistic view of human beings, but remain unconvinced about his argument for a non-physical soul? In other words, are his two options the only … Read more