Animisms: Practical Indigenous Philosophies

In Tiddy Smith (ed.), Animism and Philosophy of Religion. Springer Verlag. pp. 95-122 (2022)
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In this chapter, we focus on animism and how it is studied in the cognitive science of religion and cultural anthropology. We argue that philosophers of religion still use (outdated) normative notions from early scientific studies of religion that go back at least a century and that have since been abandoned in other disciplines. Our argument is programmatic: we call for an expansion of philosophy of religion in order to include traditions that are currently underrepresented. The failure of philosophy of religion to discuss and accommodate different perspectives means a large part of human religious beliefs, practices, and experiences remains outside its purview. As a point of focus, we examine animism in two cultures as a way to think about what sorts of questions and ideas an expansion of philosophy of religion into lesser-explored traditions could offer.

Author Profiles

Johan De Smedt
Saint Louis University
Helen De Cruz
Saint Louis University


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