What next?

Posted on December 7, 2011

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I started at the Konrad Lorenz Institute in June 2007, just about four and a half years ago. My project, at the beginning, was to look at superstitions and to try to understand them as cognitive, evolved phenomena. Fairly quickly, I came to the conclusion that superstitions were cognitive byproducts. Soon thereafter I came into contact with research that examined religion from much the same direction as my research into superstition. As a result, my focus broadened to include religion. It is thanks to coming to cognitive science of religion from the direction of looking at superstitions that, I think, I was able to see how it is that the n byproduct and prosocial adaptation accounts of religion are focussing on two different aspects of religion and to show why it is that religions are particularly successful thanks to the way in which they combine these two aspects. The resulting book, or rather its complete draft version, is now with the publisher’s reviewer. Which means that I can now concentrate on taking my research further.

For the foreseeable, this means focussing on writing a number of papers as well as collaborating with some scientists on studies which will verify my theories empirically. The papers I will be writing will take particular arguments from the book and either develop them further or apply them to particular issues that were not touched on in the book. For the most part, these papers will be aimed at philosophy journals – the aim being to reach this group of researchers since my book is unlikely to be noticed by them given that it will be published in a series focussed upon cognitive science of religion. There is no lack of topics for me to write on. So much so that I could try to send out an article a month and would still have enough topics in mind to keep myself busy for a couple of years, at least. At the same time as I do this research I am starting to work with several scientist friends on planning empirical research that will test a number of different aspects of the theory I have developed. All of these collaborations are still in their early stages but I hope that at least some of them will quickly crystallise into concrete research projects that will help to keep me gainfully occupied over the next little while.

Having said that, I am sure that the book will require some more attention from me before I finally have the published product in my hand. I just hope that it will not require so much effort as to monopolise my time in the way it has previously.

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Posted in: postdoc, research