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

Series:
The Terry Lectures
Format:
Hardback
Publication date:
22 Jan 2010
ISBN:
9780300140347
Dimensions:
192 pages: 210 x 140 x 20mm

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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.