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Supernatural Agents – Why We Believe in Souls, Gods, and Buddhas - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Supernatural Agents: Why We Believe in Souls, Gods, and Buddhas

Ilkka Pyysiäinen


This book provides a cognitive scientific perspective to beliefs about supernatural agents. First, human intuitions about agents, agency, and counterintuitive concepts are outlined and explained. Second, various kinds of folk beliefs and theological doctrines about souls and spirits are analyzed in the light of the human cognitive architecture, using descriptions of spirit possession and shamanism as materials. Third, scholastic discussions of God’s cognitive capacities as well as folk-psychological God beliefs are analyzed. This analysis combines with a discussion of Buddhist ideas of soulles ... More

Keywords: cognitive science, God, scholasticism, shamanism, spirit possession, Buddhism, agency, intuitions, intentionality

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2009 Print ISBN-13: 9780195380026
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195380026.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Ilkka Pyysiäinen, author
Academy of Finland and Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies

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