Religions as Cultural Solutions to Social Living

Religion Evolving - Cultural, Cognitive, and Ecological Dynamics - Benjamin Grant Purzycki

Benjamin Grant Purzycki [+-]
Aarhus University
Benjamin Grant Purzycki is Associate Professor in the Department of the Study of Religion at Aarhus University.
Richard Sosis [+-]
University of Connecticut
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Richard Sosis is the James Barnett Professor of Humanistic Anthropology at the University of Connecticut.


The scientific study of religion has made significant advances in recent decades, explaining how the mind produces religious ideas, the motivations underlying religious behaviour, and the transmission of religious cultures within and across generations. In Religion Evolving: Cultural, Cognitive, and Ecological Dynamics , Purzycki and Sosis argue that further progress requires integration of isolated research findings on the various components – ritual, supernatural agent belief, myth, taboo, and so forth – that constitute religion. Religions, they contend, need to be understood as adaptive systems. Drawing from a wealth of ethnographic and experimental evidence, they situate religious systems within their local socioecological contexts, showing how religious culture adaptively responds to economic, environmental, and human health problems, as well as costly threats to cooperation and reproduction. Based in the evolutionary, cognitive, and anthropological sciences, Religion Evolving offers a holistic approach that attends to the complex, interacting features of religious systems.

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Purzycki, Benjamin; Sosis, Richard. Religions as Cultural Solutions to Social Living. Religion Evolving - Cultural, Cognitive, and Ecological Dynamics. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. Feb 2022. ISBN 9781800500525. Date accessed: 22 Oct 2021 doi: 10.1558/equinox.42783. Feb 2022

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