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Gods are more flexible than resolutions

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 June 2005

George Ainslie*
Affiliation:
Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Coatesville, PA19320http://www.Picoeconomics.com

Abstract:

The target article proposes that “counterintuitive beliefs in supernatural agents” are shaped by cognitive factors and survive because they foster empathic concern and counteract existential dread. I argue that they are shaped by motivational forces similar to those that shape our beliefs about other people; that empathic concern is rewarded in a more elementary fashion; and that a major function of these supernatural beliefs may be to provide a more flexible alternative to autonomous willpower in controlling not only dread but also many other unwelcome urges.

Type
Open Peer Commentary
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2004

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References

The author of this commentary is employed by a government agency and, as such, this commentary is considered a work of the U.S. government and not subject to copyright within the United States.

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