Religion, Délire and Counterintuitiveness

in Durkheimian Studies
Ilkka Pyysiäinen University of Helsinki

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The question of how we should understand the fact that Durkheim calls religion 'a variety of illusion (délire)' has recently been discussed in this journal. In the following, I briefly outline a new interpretation, leaving its more detailed development to a later publication. I argue that Durkheim's notion of religion as drawing from Boyer's idea of counterintuitive representations can further develop illusion. Also Durkheim's idea of the social as the basis of religion partly relates to some of Boyer's arguments and those of other cognitive scientists of religion. It, too, can be elaborated in the light of some recent cognitive-evolutionary considerations.

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Durkheimian Studies

Études Durkheimiennes