The Coexistence Problem in Psychology, Anthropology, and Evolutionary Theory

  title={The Coexistence Problem in Psychology, Anthropology, and Evolutionary Theory},
  author={Harvey Whitehouse},
  journal={Human Development},
  pages={191 - 199}
Coexistence of natural and supernatural explanation Social anthropology and the cognitive and evolutionary sciences Social learning and cultural transmission T he coexistence of natural and supernatural explanation in social discourse has long been puzzled over by anthropologists. The arguments advanced in this special issue of 
The Evolution and Ontogeny of Ritual
Convergent developments across social scientific disciplines provide evidence that ritual is a psychologically prepared, culturally inherited, behavioral trademark of our species. We draw on evidence
Seeking a Rapprochement Between Anthropology and the Cognitive Sciences: A Problem-Driven Approach
It is argued that there is great scope for fruitful rapprochement while agreeing that there are obstacles, and the general problem is framed in terms of the prospects for collaborative deployment of expertise in problem-driven research.
Cognitive resource depletion in religious interactions
Abstract We explore the cognitive effects of three common features of religious interactions: (1) demand for the expressive suppression of emotion; (2) exposure to goal-demoted and causally opaque
Altruism, collective rationality, and extreme self-sacrifice
Abstract Puzzlement about extreme self-sacrifice arises from an unarticulated assumption of psychological egoism, according to which people invariably act in their own self-interests. However,
Brains, language and the argumentative mind in Western and Eastern societies. The fertile differences between Western-Eastern argumentative traditions.
  • Jordi Vallverdú
  • Computer Science, Medicine
    Progress in biophysics and molecular biology
  • 2017
There is not a single way to connect biology and culture, but at least the authors need to admit that brains allow the existence of minds and that these create languages, which also organize the world symbolically following a long set of heuristics.
Motivational (con)fusion: Identity fusion does not quell personal self-interest
It is questioned whether altruistic motivation links identity fusion and extreme self-sacrifice and two lines of research suggesting that the underlying motivation is plausibly egoistic are reviewed.
Functions, mechanisms, and contexts: comments on “Cognitive resource depletion in religious interactions”
We explore the cognitive effects of three common features of religious interactions: (1) demand for the expressive suppression of emotion; (2) exposure to goaldemoted and causally opaque actions; and
Ritual and Religion as Social Technologies of Cooperation
This chapter takes as its point of departure the influential French sociologist Émile Durkheim’s view that religion and ritual are inherently social phenomena (Durkheim, 1912/1965). Although we
Religion and Morality
It is argued that to make progress, the categories “religion” and “morality” must be fractionated into a set of biologically and psychologically cogent traits, revealing the cognitive foundations that shape and constrain relevant cultural variants.
The Common-Core/Diversity Dilemma: Revisions of Humean thought, New Empirical Research, and the Limits of Rational Religious Belief
This paper is the product of an interdisciplinary, interreligious dialogue aiming to outline some of the possibilities and rational limits of supernatural religious belief, in the light of a critique


Religion Explained: The Evolutionary Origins of Religious Thought
The first classic of 21st-century anthropology."--John Tooby and Leda Cosmides, University of California, Santa Barbara. Many of our questions about religion, says renowned anthropologist Pascal
Darwin's Cathedral: Evolution, Religion, and the Nature of Society
One of the great intellectual battles of modern times is between evolution and religion. Until now, they have been considered completely irreconcilable theories of origin and existence. David Sloan
The folk psychology of souls
  • J. Bering
  • Psychology, Medicine
    Behavioral and Brain Sciences
  • 2006
The central thesis of the present article is that an organized cognitive “system” dedicated to forming illusory representations of psychological immortality, the intelligent design of the self, and the symbolic meaning of natural events evolved in response to the unique selective pressures of the human social environment.
God’s punishment and public goods
This work uses data from 186 societies around the globe to test whether the likelihood of supernatural punishment—indexed by the importance of moralizing “high gods”—is associated with cooperation.
Uncertainty and the Use of Magic
B. Malinowski (1954) attribue la magie a l'incertitude. D'autres etudes confirment ce fait, aussi bien dans les civilisations evoluees que dans les autres. L'A. l'a experimente sur un groupe
The natural emergence of reasoning about the afterlife as a developmental regularity.
Findings suggest that developmental mechanisms underlie intuitive accounts of dead agents' minds, and that older children and adults were likely to attribute epistemic, emotional, and desire states to dead agents.
Ancestors and the afterlife
The purpose of this paper analyze beliefs in afterlife among the Vezo of Madagascar. This analysis purpots to be an empirical investigation by means of a combination of ethnography and the
Emulation, imitation, over-imitation and the scope of culture for child and chimpanzee
It is concluded that chimpanzees rely more on imitation and have greater cultural capacities than previously acknowledged, however, they also find that they selectively apply a range of social learning processes that include emulation.
Arguments and Icons: Divergent Modes of Religiosity
Why do initiations in Papua New Guinea often subject novices to violence and terror? Why do some cargo cults lead to regional unity and others to regional divisions? How have features of cognitive
Inside the Cult: Religious Innovation and Transmission in Papua New Guinea
For the past thirty years, adherents of a millenarian cult in Papua New Guinea, known as the Pomio Kivung, have been awaiting the establishment of a period of supernatural bliss, heralded by the