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Breaking the spell : religion as a natural phenomenon

Author: D C Dennett
Publisher: New York : Viking, ©2006.
Edition/Format:   Book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
An innovative thinker tackles the controversial question of why we believe in God and how religion shapes our lives and our future. For a growing number of people, there is nothing more important than religion. It is an integral part of their marriage, child rearing, and community. In this daring new book, distinguished philosopher Dennett takes a hard look at this phenomenon and asks why. Where does our devotion to  Read more...
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Details

Genre/Form: Controversial literature
Ouvrages de controverse
Material Type: Internet resource
Document Type: Book, Internet Resource
All Authors / Contributors: D C Dennett
ISBN: 067003472X 9780670034727
OCLC Number: 61240665
Description: xvi, 448 p. ; 23 cm.
Contents: 1. Breaking which spell? --
2. Some questions about science --
3. Why good things happen --
4. The roots of religion --
5. Religion, the early days --
6. The evolution of stewardship --
7. The invention of team spirit --
8. Belief in belief --
9. Toward a buyer's guide to religions --
10. Morality and religion --
11. Now what do we do? --
App. A. The new replicators --
App. B. Some more questions about science --
App. C. The bellboy and the lady named Tuck --
App. D. Kim Philby as a real case of indeterminacy of radical interpretation.
Responsibility: Daniel C. Dennett.
More information:

Abstract:

An innovative thinker tackles the controversial question of why we believe in God and how religion shapes our lives and our future. For a growing number of people, there is nothing more important than religion. It is an integral part of their marriage, child rearing, and community. In this daring new book, distinguished philosopher Dennett takes a hard look at this phenomenon and asks why. Where does our devotion to God come from and what purpose does it serve? Is religion a blind evolutionary compulsion or a rational choice? In a narrative that ranges widely through history, philosophy, and psychology, Dennett explores how organized religion evolved from folk beliefs and why it is such a potent force today. He contends that the "belief in belief" has fogged any attempt to rationally consider the existence of God and the relationship between divinity and human need.--From publisher description.

Table of Contents:

by g2357 (WorldCat user on 2006-07-01)

Preface xiii PART I OPENING PANDORA'S BOX 1 Breaking Which Spell? 3 .1 What's going on? 3 .2 A working definition of religion 7 .3 To break or not to break 12 .4 Peering into the abyss 17 .5 Religion as a natural phenomenon 24 2 Some Questions About Science 29 .1 Can science study religion? 29 .2 Should science study religion? 34 .3 Might music be bad for you? 40 .4 Would neglect be more benign? 44 3 Why Good Things Happen 54 .1 Bringing out the best 54 .2 Cui bono? 56 .3 Asking what pays for religion 69 .4 A Martian's list of theories 74 PART II THE EVOLUTION OF RELIGION 4 The Roots of Religion 97 .1 The births of religions 97 .2 The raw materials of religion 104 .3 How Nature deals with the problem of other minds 108 5 Religion, the Early Days 116 .1 Too many agents: competition for rehearsal space 116 .2 Gods as interested parties 125 .3 Getting the gods to speak to us 132 .4 Shamans as hypnotists 135 .5 Memory-engineering devices in oral cultures 141 6 The Evolution of Stewardship 153 .1 The music of religion 153 .2 Folk religion as practical know-how 156 .3 Creeping reflection and the birth of secrecy in religion 162 .4 The domestication of religions 167 7 The Invention of Team Spirit 175 .1 A path paved with good intentions 175 .2 The ant colony and the corporation 179 .3 The growth market in religion 189 .4 A God you can talk to 193 8 Belief in Belief 200 .1 You better believe it 200 .2 God as intentional object 210 .3 The division of doxastic labor 217 .4 The lowest common denominator? 222 .5 Beliefs designed to be professed 226 .6 Lessons from Lebanon: the strange cases of the Druze and Kim Philby 234 .7 Does God exist? 240 PART III RELIGION TODAY 9 Toward a Buyer's Guide to Religions 249 .1 For the love of God 249 .2 The academic smoke screen 258 .3 Why does it matter what you believe? 264 .4 What can your religion do for you? 270 10 Morality and Religion 278 .1 Does religion make us moral? 278 .2 Is religion what gives meaning to your life? 286 .3 What can we say about sacred values? 292 .4 Bless my soul: spirituality and selfishness 302 11 Now What Do We Do? 308 .1 Just a theory 308 .2 Some avenues to explore: how can we home in on religious conviction? 314 .3 What shall we tell the children? 321 .4 Toxic memes 328 .5 Patience and politics 334 Appendixes A The New Replicators 341 B Some More Questions About Science 359 C The Bellboy and the Lady Named Tuck 379 D Kim Philby as a Real Case of Indeterminacy of Radical Interpretation 387 Notes 391 Bibliography 413 Index 427

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