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This brief concluding chapter recaps the main conclusions of the body chapters, affirms the importance of cognitive theorizing for the study of ancient religion, locates the different religious expressions studied in these chapters along a continuum of cognitively optimal and costly religion, and points to potential areas of future research at the intersection of biblical studies, Israelite religion, and cognitive science of religion (CSR).
This final chapter offers a sustained textual analysis of the Day of Atonement ritual in Leviticus 16 and theorizes the effects of ritualized behavior and cognitive and material costs associated with the ritual ceremony. Several important theoretical frameworks from the cognitive science of religion (CSR), which aim to study different aspects of religious ritual in particular, are introduced and applied to the biblical text. These include Lawson and McCauley’s ritual form hypothesis, Whitehouse’s modes of religiosity, Boyer and Lienard’s notion of ritualized behavior, and others. These cognitive theories offer a new set of questions and methods for approaching ritual in ancient Israel, departing from more traditional ritual theory. The chapter analyzes the purification or purgation of the temple and the scapegoat ritual using these theories.
This opening chapter introduces a key set of distinctions in cognitive science and the cognitive sciences of religion between intuitive and reflective types of cognition, implicit and explicit concepts, and cognitively optimal and costly religious traditions. The chapter argues for the importance, relevance, and applicability of cognitive theories and findings for the study of ancient Israelite religion. It is argued that an informed cognitive perspective can illuminate ancient texts, art, and religion, while also acknowledging that such historical materials can be used as valuable fact-checks to critically test and refine current cognitive theories. The chapter envisions a multi-disciplinary endeavor in which historians, biblical scholars, and cognitive researchers contribute to a richer understanding of religion in ancient Israel.
This chapter reframes the traditional dichotomy between popular and official religion and argues that ritual practices in both official and domestic settings were informed by intuitive conceptualizations of supernatural agency. As an alternative to popular and official religion, the categories cognitively optimal and cognitively costly religion are proposed as a fruitful framework for understanding the diversity of religious expression in ancient Israel. It is argued that from the standpoint of human cognition, ritual offerings performed in both popular and official contexts share deep structural features in common − whether in households, villages, local shrines, or state-sponsored temples. The final section of the chapter evaluates the recent shift to the study of family or household religion in ancient Israel. An analysis of material artifacts and religious ritual practices in domestic and official contexts reveals interesting points of continuity across these domains. Overall, a cognitive perspective suggests that the difference between home and temple, ancestors and the national deity, may not have been as great as it is sometimes imagined.
This chapter uses current theories in the cognitive science of religion (CSR) to examine the widespread popularity of hybrid monsters in ancient Syro-Palestinian and Near Eastern art and the role of material culture in enhancing memory and expanding the ordinary boundaries of the religious imagination. The chapter analyzes the iconography of hybrid figures from the perspective of two current cognitive frameworks: Dan Sperber’s epidemiological approach to cultural representations and Pascal Boyer’s theory of minimally counterintuitive (MCI) concepts. Artifacts and imagery include hybrid creatures on glyptic and minor art, monsters and demons, as well as a discussion of hybrid creatures such as the seraphim and cherubim in the biblical books of Isaiah and Ezekiel. It is argued that culturally specific depictions of hybrid animals exhibit a core set of properties, which helps to account for their stability across geographical and temporal distances. The MCI theory is also empirically tested with recourse to the ancient iconographic data.
The Introduction describes citizen sociolinguistics as an offshoot of the broader category of citizen science and exemplifies types of expertise that everyday people bring to the study of language in context. Instead of looking to experts in the field of linguistics for definitive diagnoses of language issues, I lay out the perspective that these institutionally centered voices are just one of many different interesting and personally invested views on language. In this way, I illustrate citizen sociolinguistics as a means to explore social norms, not a statement of top-down language standards to be adhered to in all cases, or a studied expertise that provides a definitive description of language works. The Introduction concludes with an overview of the chapters to come.
Progress to date has varied between different sub-disciplines and this final chapter will touch on common themes throughout. Psychology as a discipline has much to gain from the digital age, especially following the mass adoption of smartphohes. Software development is an entire discipline within itself, but even comparatively simple smartphone apps that collect minimal data can be highly revealing of everyday behaviour. However, we face numerous challenges that go beyond technological development. Some of these issues pretain to theorising and replication, while others concern the scientific climate in which we operate. Most of these issues are not unique to research involving new technology, but they become more apparent as the speed of innovation accelerates. As a result, we appear to carry very little understanding forward to the next mass-adopted innovation.
By reflecting on past successes and failures, this chapter provides guidance on how psychological research can become more productive and break free from tired cycles of research. More importantly, if psychological science can re-align existing priorities and embrace the digital age, it has nothing to lose and everything to gain.
In this epilogue, we reflect on the prospects for advancing interdisciplinarity in the sciences of culture, mind, and brain. Neuroscience is increasingly applied to address questions of central concern to the social sciences. Social sciences, in turn, can contribute to neuroscience research in a variety of ways, including: (1) the study of social factors that influence the brain across the lifespan; (2) the context-sensitive translation of neuroscience research into applications in clinical and other social settings; (3) critical social analyses of cultural, conceptual, and institutional framing and constraints on neuroscience research, knowledge production, and applications; and (4) integration of each of these approaches in an ecosocial view of the brain in its social-cultural niche. Obstacles to interdisciplinarity stem from institutional structures, methodological strategies, epistemic commitments, and divergent ontologies. We describe strategies to surmount these obstacles, including: (1) institutionally, creating spaces for collaborative work, supporting interdisciplinary career tracks, and ensuring sustained funding; (2) conceptually, borrowing models and metaphors across disciplines, establishing boundary objects of common interest, using system diagrams to locate diverse levels and processes in the same model; and (3) methodologically, establishing convergent validity through mixed and hybrid methods, and creating shared databases and pipelines to facilitate integration of multiple perspectives.
In this chapter, we review recent research from a variety of disciplines to outline the role that collective rituals and religious beliefs play in fostering and maintaining cooperation. We consider ritual and religion as interactive but separate social technologies. First, with rituals we discuss their importance to social learning processes, examine their ability to bond groups through synchrony and shared emotion, and address their role as costly, persuasive signals of commitment. Second, we explore "religion" in the form of beliefs about supernatural agents and look at how such beliefs can contribute to – or hinder – cooperation. We evaluate long-standing claims that religion is a harmful social virus and contrasting recent theories that argue belief in "Big Gods" and "supernatural punishment" are crucial to enabling the cooperation necessary for large-scale societies.
The introduction discusses the development and substance of transitional justice theory. It shows the main assumptions embedded in this theory, which posits a direct and necessary link between criminal trials for past atrocities and post-authoritarian transitions to democracy. In a nutshell, the theory assumes that better trials lead to better democracy. Transitional justice theory has three main presuppositions. First, the theory assumes that criminal trials have a deterrent effect that prevents new authoritarian atrocities. Second, it asserts that trials offer democratizing lessons in history. Finally, it assumes that trials for past atrocities are necessarily and inherently democratizing because they promote liberal due process rights. The German case calls into question all three of these assumptions. In western Germany, liberalization occurred, but mainly as a way to avoid justice for Nazi crimes. And in the east, fair trials led not to democracy, but to a new authoritarianism.
Chapter six explores adaptive resistance in Britain during the American Civil War. Black activists exploited this resistance strategy amongst a climate of growing scientific racism and pro-Confederate sympathy, two factors that were inseparable. Throughout the conflict, Black abolitionists used their testimony to revoke charges of Black inferiority and demanded Britons follow a policy of non-fellowship with slaveholders. Despite abolitionist networks which had dwindled at the start of the war, activists such as William Craft, Sella Martin and William Andrew Jackson lectured on both an abolitionist and non-abolitionist stage with a greater sense of urgency, convinced that the conflict’s outcome would mean either the consolidation or the removal of slavery. Craft and Martin in particular used dissonant language to target scientific racists such as Dr. James Hunt, who lectured and published work on Black inferiority. Hunt avidly supported the South and his friendship with Confederate propagandist Henry Hotze represented the synonymy of a cause that promoted slavery and racism, and as much as possible, Black activists used dissonant language to challenge such theories.
The chapter describes the general background of science and law in the seventeenth century. It highlights main philosophical debates of this century and their link to religion. It highlights search for ’new philosophies’, as well as emergance of mechanical philosophies. The centrality of the geometrical method in this century is highlighted as well as its influence on both Leibniz and Hobbes. In relation to Leibniz this method was radically transformed and advanced into the project of scientia generalis and characteristica universalis. Political instability and search for peace are the main genral features of the period, which is still characterised by fragmented and multilayered legal landscape.
Originally developed by applying models from cognitive psychology to the study of foreign policy decision making, the field of behavioral IR is undergoing important transformations. Building on a broader range of models, methods, and data from the fields of neuroscience, biology, and genetics, behavioral IR has moved beyond the staid debate between rational choice and psychology and instead investigates the plethora of mechanisms selected by evolution for solving adaptive problems. This opens new opportunities for collaboration between scholars informed by rational choice and behavioral insights. Examining the interactions between the individual's genetic inheritance, social environment, and downstream behavior of individuals and groups, the emerging field of behavioral epigenetics offers novel insights into the methodological problem of aggregation that has confounded efforts to apply behavioral findings to IR. In the first instance empirical, behavioral IR raises numerous normative and philosophical questions best answered in dialogue with political and legal theorists.
This chapter discusses the implications of our findings for a new understanding of the drivers of large-scale criminal violence in Mexico, the social scientific study of criminal violence, and the design of security policies in new democracies. The focus on state–criminal collusion in the gray zone of criminality and political-electoral mechanisms as triggers of criminal wars and violence offers a new interpretation of drug wars in Mexico (1990–2012) and provides a tentative interpretation of the exponential growth of violence in the 2012–2018 period. Violence increased because Mexico continued to have intense electoral competition but no rule of law; collusion of state agents with crime expanded; presidents politicized law enforcement for electoral gains; and the administration of President Enrique Peña Nieto retained the same policies that originally caused the escalation of violence. Beyond Mexico, we discuss how our theoretical reformulation and our empirical findings contribute to the development of a political science of organized crime and violence. We conclude by considering how this political approach can shape a new understanding of security policies in new democracies.
Africa has been a source of science and scientific discoveries. The continent continues to attract the world, which has led to some breakthroughs in science. Since colonial times, science has been part of the existence of Africa. The continent is a rich field for scientific expeditions, experiments and research. Today, Africa is a major region contributing to world science in a significant measure. Since the post-colonial period, several African countries have taken science more seriously and some have advanced scientifically. Science production, measured in terms of scientific publications, has shown an increase in Africa in recent years. Scientific collaboration with international partners has assisted Africa in this and in the visibility of its science in the world. Science is being recognised as the main driver for economic growth and development in African countries. The role of science in national development is evident in the policy documents of these countries. Most have drafted a science policy that aims to integrate with their national development plans and strategies, but how far Africa makes use of the science that it produces and adopts for its national development is not known. In other words, it is about the relationship between science and national development.
The chapter examines the evolution and development of science, exploring the colonial and postcolonial features of African science. A host of themes are relevant here, including how science and scientific institutions were established and administered, what the challenges were, and how science was integrated into the development goals. Africa was under the colonial rule of several different countries which pursued dissimilar approaches to science and its application for development. The interests of the colonisers rather than those of the colonised were the predominant concern. Scientific research that was conducted in colonial Africa was mainly to support the economic and political interests of the colonisers and their administrations. Since independence, there have been efforts to strengthen science and national scientific systems in some parts of Africa. Structures meant for the creation of science and technology policies began to appear. Universities and research institutions were formed as part of building national science systems. However, there were challenges as well. Economic recession adversely affected scientific infrastructure, researchers, scientific output and development. Attempts to strengthen science were seen at various individual and collective levels that helped to integrate science and technology with national developmental needs.
The focus of the chapter is on the potential and challenges for African countries in science and development. Africa has a thriving indigenous knowledge system that can contribute to modern science. Some of the challenges are not unique to Africa but are common to other developing countries as well. No country can depend fully on other countries for its science and technology needs. A balance has to be maintained between the reliance and transfer of technology from elsewhere and the country developing its own. Sourcing and allocation of funds continue to be problems for Africa. Unlike other developing countries, Africa suffers from a brain drain, with its own consequences for the advancement of national scientific systems. A well-established system of education will go a long way towards encouraging science education and the production of new scientists, technicians and engineers. The link between science and society needs to be strengthened for the mutual, bilateral and beneficial interests of both. In order for Africa to enhance its research capacity, strenuous efforts are required on many different fronts. A functional rewards system, as worked out in some countries in Africa, encourages and motivates scientists to continue their work with dedication and commitment.
Chapter 8 is devoted to the positive goal of Kant’s reform of the theoretical part of metaphysics, namely, the system of pure reason he intended to elaborate on the basis of the propaedeutic investigation carried out in the Critique of Pure Reason. Drawing on the Architectonic, the Transcendental Dialectic, the Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science, Kant’s lectures on metaphysics, and other texts, the chapter maintains that the Critique paves the way not only for a reformed version of general metaphysics or ontology but also for a reformed version of special metaphysics, namely, rational physics, rational psychology, rational cosmology, and rational theology. The chapter argues that the Critique does not preclude the possibility of a comprehensive account of the purely intellectual determinations of the ideas of reason themselves and, hence, is much less detrimental to former special metaphysics than is generally assumed. Thus, it seeks to bring out the common ground of Kant’s projected system and the metaphysical systems put forward by Wolff and Baumgarten. The chapter concludes by arguing that Kant’s later accounts of his intentions accord with his original plan.
Scientific research areas and their development in Africa vary. In this chapter, the nature of science that is produced in Africa is gleaned from the analysis of the scientific research areas. Using large quantities of publication data, a closer look is taken at all scientific research areas in African countries. The analysis shows the contribution of countries to specific scientific areas, strengths in specific research areas, and recent research foci. Using two time periods, not only the trends in the production of science according to the scientific research areas but also to the shifting foci of countries in scientific research are revealed. Countries and their focused research areas are shown in this analysis. Some countries, in contrast to others, were in the forefront of producing the highest number of publications for African science. They are the key science producers in specific areas of research that are very relevant for the development of Africa. Clear differentiation between North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa in research areas is seen in the analysis. The attention and focus on specific research areas by African countries are influenced by developmental needs, interests and scientific capabilities.
This study analyzes the relationship between state-level variables and Twitter discourse on genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Using geographically identified tweets related to GMOs, we examined how the sentiments expressed about GMOs related to education levels, news coverage, proportion of rural and urban counties, state-level political ideology, amount of GMO-related legislation introduced, and agricultural dependence of each U.S. state. State-level characteristics predominantly did not predict the sentiment of the discourse. Instead, the topics of tweets predicted the majority of variance in tweet sentiment at the state level. The topics that tweets within a state focused on were related to state-level characteristics in some cases.