Browsing All Posts filed under »Books«

Religion as Magical Ideology

April 30, 2013


Today is the official publication date for the UK (Acumen Publishing) edition of my book. With an altered title – Religion as Magical Ideology: How the Supernatual Reflects Rationality – the book is out in the Religion,  Cognition, and Culture series edited by Jeppe Sindig Jensen and Armin Geertz. Over the years I have written […]

Reading Rossano

May 9, 2012


How did February turn into May? It must have been magic! Among the thousand and one things that have been keeping my away from updating my blog over the last couple of months has been a very much overdue review of Rossano’s Supernatural Selection. Reading the book has been interesting but from a meta perspective […]

Sociology, secularisation and selection

February 6, 2011


I’m currently reading Secularization by Steve Bruce. The book is a most fascinating data-driven look at the phenomenon of secularisation in modern societies, especially Europe. Bruce is a long-time collaborator of David Voas, whose work on secularisation I mentioned earlier and who directed me to Bruce’s previous book with the unbeatable title – God is […]

First philosophy and second-rate thinking

March 1, 2010


Discussion of Fodor’s book has made me think again about why many analytically-trained philosophers fall into the kind of trap that Fodor falls into, i.e. putting forward very general philosophical arguments that, if you have an ounce of good-sense, you clearly recognise as a reductio ad absurdum of their own premises (I like the spelling […]

Embarrassingly bad philosophy on public show

February 25, 2010


There is a lot of bad philosophy out there. Every philosophical tradition also has its typical bad philosophy, with bad continental philosophy tending to use obscure language to make trivial points and bad analytic philosophy tending to split conceptual hairs in a way that has nothing to do with reality. Very often philosophers do lack […]

Does Barrett think that Superman is a counterintuitive concept?

December 11, 2009


Still working through Barrett’s Why Would Anyone Believe in God? with my cognitive science of religion class. We’ve got to chapter 6 in which Barrett considers the traits of the christian deity and I have found myself gobsmacked by the argument that Barrett presents. He considers in turn the christian claims that their deity has […]

Supernatural, counterontological, superempirical

December 10, 2008


No, not a new Santana compilation but three terms that are very close to each other in extension but not so close in how commonly they are used. Given that one term was invented somewhat whimsically by Pascal Boyer and another by myself while the third is a generally known term, this is hardly surprising. […]

Review of Hull and Ruse

August 19, 2008


My review of The Cambridge Companion to the Philosophy of Science edited by Hull and Ruse is up on the Metapsychology page. I thought the book was pretty damned good: While the articles are approachable, the Hull and Ruse volume does not feel like a dry introductory text that goes methodically through the central theses […]

Johnson-Laird – How we Reason

August 6, 2008


Just in the last few days I have finished reading Philip Johnson-Laird’s How we Reason. It is something of a monster of a book, both in terms of size and in terms of depth. He has put together the results of the research he has carried out over his whole career into a single picture […]

Coming back to explanation

February 6, 2008


I find that in my research on superstition I keep coming back to the role played by explanations and keep finding that I simply do not know enough about the psychology of explanation. It appears to me that a very important element of what superstitions are about is related to how superstitious explanations are treated […]