The Relevance of Hume's Natural History of Religion for Cognitive Science of Religion

Res Philosophica 92 (3):653-674 (2015)
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Hume was a cognitive scientist of religion avant la lettre. His Natural History of Religion (1757 [2007]) locates the origins of religion in human nature. This paper explores similarities between some of his ideas and the cognitive science of religion, the multidisciplinary study of the psychological origins of religious beliefs. It also considers Hume’s distinction between two questions about religion: its foundation in reason (the domain of natural theology and philosophy of religion) and its origin in human nature (the domain of cognitive science of religion).
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