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Homo Religiosus?
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Book description

Are humans naturally predisposed to religion and supernatural beliefs? If so, does this naturalness provide a moral foundation for religious freedom? This volume offers a cross-disciplinary approach to these questions, engaging in a range of contemporary debates at the intersection of religion, cognitive science, sociology, anthropology, political science, epistemology, and moral philosophy. The contributors to this original and important volume present individual, sometimes opposing points of view on the naturalness of religion thesis and its implications for religious freedom. Topics include the epistemological foundations of religion, the relationship between religion and health, and a discussion of the philosophical foundations of religious freedom as a natural, universal right, drawing implications for the normative role of religion in public life. By challenging dominant intellectual paradigms, such as the secularization thesis and the Enlightenment view of religion, the volume opens the door to a powerful and provocative reconceptualization of religious freedom.

Reviews

'The contributors to this superb, inter-disciplinary collection are leaders in their respective fields. They illuminate a subject that should be of concern to everyone.'

Roger Trigg - Ian Ramsey Centre, University of Oxford

'In recent years, academic and policy debates over religious freedom have had the unexpected but welcome effect of encouraging researchers to revisit several long-neglected questions: just what we mean by ‘religion', whether religion is universal, and the implications of religion’s presence in societies for our understanding of human nature. Although these questions are being posed anew in many circles, Timothy Samuel Shah and Jack Friedman’s Homo Religiosus? is the first book to bring together a multidisciplinary group of scholars to address the issues in a philosophically sophisticated and comparative manner. The result is a pathbreaking book. The exercise is also bracing: even as its contributors speak in varied voices, their shared effort highlights the most critical epistemological and ethical shifts underway today in the comparative study of religion and human freedom.'

Robert W. Hefner - The Pardee School of Global Affairs, Boston University

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