Natural Reflections Human Cognition at the Nexus of Science and Religion Barbara Herrnstein Smith

The Terry Lectures
Publication date:
22 Jan 2010
192 pages: 210 x 140 x 20mm

Buy this eBook

Yale eBooks are available in a variety of formats, including Kindle, ePub and ePDF. You can purchase this title from a number of online retailers (see below).

In this important and original book, eminent scholar Barbara Herrnstein Smith describes, assesses, and reflects upon a set of contemporary intellectual projects involving science, religion, and human cognition. One of these initiatives, which Smith calls 'the New Naturalism', is the effort, primarily by anthropologists and psychologists, to explain religion on the basis of cognitive science and evolutionary biology. Another, which she refers to as 'the New Natural Theology', is the recent attempt by a number of scientifically knowledgeable theologians to reconcile the accounts of the world given in the natural sciences and traditional religious belief. These two projects, one a naturalizing of religion, the other a theologizing of natural science, can be seen as mirror images, or 'natural reflections', of each other. Smith offers a sophisticated approach, recognizing science and religion as complex and distinct domains of human practice that also possess significant historical connections and psychological-cognitive resemblances and continuities.

Barbara Herrnstein Smith is Braxton Craven Professor of Comparative Literature and Director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Science and Cultural Theory at Duke University and Distinguished Professor of English at Brown University. She is the author of Belief and Resistance: Dynamics of Contemporary Intellectual Controversy and Scandalous Knowledge: Science, Truth and the Human.