Powstanie religii w świetle antropologii i psychologii kognitywnej. Koncepcja Pascala Boyera


  • Julian Jeliński Uniwersytet Wrocławski (doktorant)



Słowa kluczowe:

anthropology, cognitive psychology, explaining religion, nature of religious beliefs, origins of beliefs, Boyer P.


The diversity of religious beliefs still surprises even scholars most familiarwith these phenomena. What is most surprising is the sheer numberof practices that reflect relations between deities and men – ranging from„devotion”, „cooperation”, to trying to „trick” deities. There have beenmany theories explaining the cause of these relations and the diversityof religious beliefs including the simplest, that these relations are true andreflect an ontological order.

Leaving the question regarding the existence of supernatural beingsaside, we’re still left with a very interesting issue of human beliefs. Whydo we have such different beliefs? Why are we so attached to them? Do theyhave anything in common? What were the origins of religious beliefs? Did they changed through time?

Pascal Boyer, French anthropologist studying the human mind and theprocess of learning among other issues tries to answer these, and otherquestions. He bases his answers on scientific researches of other scholars – anthropologists, evolutionary biologists, cognitive psychologists andlinguists. Boyer employs researches from such different scientific fieldsto find a new and very interesting way to try to reach the origins of religious beliefs, to reconstruct the process of forming beliefs concerning themetaphysical/non-physical world. He also tries to explain the nature of relations between men and deities. As a result of his efforts he created a theory explaining beliefs and religious behaviors that refers only to the mechanisms of human brain, and this theory is the subject of this article.