Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details
More options …

Open Theology

Editor-in-Chief: Taliaferro, Charles

1 Issue per year

Open Access
Online
ISSN
2300-6579
See all formats and pricing
More options …

Investigating the Structure of Religious Concepts

A Few Remarks from the Perspective of Enactivism and Cognitive Linguistics

Matylda Ciołkosz
Published Online: 2016-02-23 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opth-2016-0007

Abstract

The aim of the paper is to discuss the possible application of the theory of embodied cognition and the category of image schemata to the study of religious concepts within the Cognitive Science of Religion. Departing from the notion of counterintuitiveness and Boyer’s description of religious representations as minimally counterintuitive, the author briefly discusses the critique of this approach. Subsequently, different models of mind and cognition within the Cognitive Science are summarised, with special attention given to the enactive approach, as proposed by Varela, Thompson and Rosch. The notion of embodied meaning, situated within enactivism, is then discussed, together with Johnson’s concept of image schemata as basic semantic units. To discuss the applicability of image schemata in the study of religious concepts, the author summarises a case study, related to the interpretation of the categories of sāṃkhya-yoga darśana in Iyengar Yoga.

Keywords: counterintuitiveness; ontological categories; enactivism; embodied cognition; enaction; image schemata; ritual studies; Sāṃkhya-Yoga; Modern Postural Yoga

References

  • Atran, Scott. In Gods We Trust. The Evolutionary Landscape of Religion. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Google Scholar

  • Barrett, Justin L. “Theological Correctness”. Method and Theory in the Study of Religion 11 (1994), 325-339. Google Scholar

  • Barrett, Justin L. “Coding and Quantifying Counterintuitiveness in Religious Concepts: Theoretical and Methodological Reflections”. Method and Theory in the Study of Religion 20 (2008), 308-338. Google Scholar

  • Barrett, Justin L., Burdett, Emily R., and Porter, Tenelle J. “Counterintuitiveness in Folktales: Finding the Cognitive Optimum”. Journal of Cognition and Culture 9 (2009), 271–287. Google Scholar

  • Bloch, Maurice. “Are Religious Beliefs Counterintuitive?” In Radical Interpretation in Religion, edited by Nancy K. Frankenberry, 129-146. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004. Google Scholar

  • Boyer, Pascal. The Naturalness of Religious Ideas: A Cognitive Theory of Religion. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994. Google Scholar

  • Boyer, Pascal. Religion Explained. The Evolutionary Origins of Religious Thoughts. New York: Basic Books, 2001. Google Scholar

  • Boyer, Pascal. Why would (otherwise intelligent) scholars believe in “Religion”? http://www.cognitionandculture.net/home/blog/35-pascals-blog/764-why-would-otherwise-intelligent-scholars-believe-in-qreligionq, 2011 [09.03.2015]. Google Scholar

  • Boyer, Pascal. “Explaining Religious Concepts: Lévi-Strauss, The Brilliant and Problematic Ancestor”. In Mental Culture. Classical Social theory and the Cognitive Science of Religion, edited by Dimitris Xygalatas, William W. McCorkle, 164-175. Durham: Acumen, 2013. Google Scholar

  • Brown, W.Norman. “The Sources and Nature of Puruṣa in the Puruṣasūkta”. Journal of the American Oriental Society 51 (1931), 108-118. Google Scholar

  • Chapple, Christopher K. “Living Liberation in Sāṃkhya and Yoga”. In Living Liberation in Hindu Thought, edited by A.O. Fort, P.Y. Mumme, 115-134. Albany: SUNY Press, 1996. Google Scholar

  • Ciołkosz, Matylda. “Ahankara, buddhi, manas, purusza - mechanizm poznawczy w traktacie Sankhjakarika w świetle teorii kognitywnych. Ex Nihilo 10:2 (2013), 13-31. Google Scholar

  • Ciołkosz, Matylda. “The Quasi-Linguistic Structure of Iyengar Yoga Āsana Practice. An Analysis from the Perspective of Cognitive Grammar”. Studia Religiologica 47:4 (2014), 263-273. Google Scholar

  • Ciołkosz, Matylda. “Ego małego palca, inteligencja pośladka. Koncepcja umysłu w praktyce hathajogi B.K.S. Iyengara”. Ex Nihilo 12:2 (2014). Google Scholar

  • D’Andrade, Roy. The Development of Cognitive Anthropology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995. Google Scholar

  • De Michelis, Elizabeth. Modern Yoga and the Western Esoteric Tradition. London: Continuum, 2004. Google Scholar

  • Di Paolo, Ezequiel A., Rohde, Marieke, and De Jaegher, Hanne. “Horizons for the Enactive Mind: Values, Social Interaction, and Play”. In Enaction. Toward a New Paradigm for Cognitive Science, edited by J. Stewart, O. Gapenne, and E. A. Di Paolo. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2010. Google Scholar

  • Falk, Maryla. Mit psychologiczny w starożytnych Indiach, translated by I. Kania. Kraków: Universitas, 2011. Google Scholar

  • Fodor, Jerry A. The Modularity of Mind: An Essay on Faculty Psychology. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1983. Google Scholar

  • Gallese Vittorio, Lakoff George. “The Brain’s Concepts: The Role of the Sensory-Motor System In Conceptual Knowledge”. Cognitive Neuropsychology, 22: 3-4 (2005), 455-479. Google Scholar

  • Goldman, Alvin I. Simulating Minds: The Philosophy, Psychology and Neuroscience of Mindreading. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006. Google Scholar

  • Hebb, Daniel O. The Organization of Behavior. New York: Wiley, 1949. Google Scholar

  • Hutto, Daniel D., and Myin, Erik. Radicalizing Enactivism. Basic Minds without Content. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2013. Google Scholar

  • Iyengar, B.K.S. Yoga Vṛkṣa. The Tree of Yoga. Oxford: Fine Line Books, 1988. Google Scholar

  • Iyengar, B.K.S. Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patañjali. Pātañjala Yoga Pradipika. New Delhi: Harper Collins Publishers India, 2005. Google Scholar

  • Iyengar, B.K.S. Light on Life. The Yoga Journey to Wholeness, Inner Peace and Ultimate Freedom. Vancouver: Raincoast Books, 2005. Google Scholar

  • Johnson, Mark. The Body in the Mind. The Bodily Basis of Meaning, Imagination and Reason. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1987. Google Scholar

  • Kudelska, Marta. “Purusza jako zasada podmiotowości w myśli Upaniszad”. In Purusza, atman, tao, sin… Wokół problematyki podmiotu w tradycjach filozoficznych Wschodu, edited by O. Łucyszyna, M.St. Zięba. Łódź: Wydawnictwo Akademii Humanistyczno-Ekonomicznej w Łodzi, 2011. Google Scholar

  • Langacker, Ronald W. Cognitive Grammar. A Basic Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008. Google Scholar

  • Larson, Gerald J. Classical Sāṃkhya. An Interpretation of its History and Meaning. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1979. Google Scholar

  • Lévi-Strauss, Claude. The Savage Mind. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1966. Google Scholar

  • Lévy-Bruhl, Lucien. Primitive Mentality, translated by L.A. Clare. London: George Allen & Unwin Ltd, 1923. Google Scholar

  • McCauley, Robert N. Why Religion is Natural and Science is Not. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011. Google Scholar

  • McCauley, Robert N., Lawson, E. Thomas. Rethinking Religion: Connecting Cognition and Culture. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990. Google Scholar

  • McCauley, Robert N., Lawson, E. Thomas. Bringing Ritual to Mind. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004. Google Scholar

  • McEvilley, Thomas. “The Spinal Serpent”. In The Roots of Tantra, edited by Katherine A. Harper and Robert L. Brown, Albany: SUNY Press, 2002. Google Scholar

  • Norenzayan, Ara, Atran, Scott, Faulkner, Jason, and Schaller, Mark. “Memory and Mystery: The Cultural Selection of Minimally Counterintuitive Narratives”. Cognitive Science 30 (2006), 531–553. Google Scholar

  • Pinker, Steven. How the Mind Works. London: Penguin Books, 1997. Google Scholar

  • Purzycki, Benjamin G. “Cognitive Architecture, Humor and Counterintuitiveness: Retention and Recall of MCIs”. Journal of Cognition and Culture 10 (2010), 189–204. Google Scholar

  • Purzycki, Benjamin G., and Willard, Aiyana K. “MCI theory: a critical discussion”. Religion, Brain & Behavior (2015). Google Scholar

  • Rosch, Eleanor. “Principles of Categorization”. In Concepts. Core Readings. Cambridge, edited by Eric Margolis, Stephen Laurence, MA: The MIT Press, 1999. Google Scholar

  • Sheets-Johnstone, Maxine. “Thinking in Movement: Further Analyses and Validations”. In Enaction. Toward a New Paradigm for Cognitive Science, edited by J. Stewart, O. Gapenne, and E. A. Di Paolo. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2010. Google Scholar

  • Singleton, Mark. Yoga Body. The Origin of Modern Posture Practice. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010. Google Scholar

  • Sperber, Dan. Rethinking Symbolism, translated by A.L. Morton. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1974. Google Scholar

  • Sperber, Dan. Explaining Culture. A Naturalistic Approach. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 1996. Google Scholar

  • Turner, Terrence. “‘We Are Parrots’, ‘Twins Are Birds’: Play of Tropes as Operational Structure”. In Beyond Metaphor. The Theory of Tropes in Anthropology, edited by James W. Fernandez, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1991. Google Scholar

  • Upal, M. Afzal. “An alternative account of the minimal counterintuitiveness effect”. Cognitive Systems Research 11 (2010), 194–203. Google Scholar

  • Varela, Francisco J., Thompson, Evan T., and Rosch, Eleanor. The Embodied Mind. Cognitive Science and Human Experience. Cambridge, MA: MIT, 1993. Google Scholar

  • Whitehouse, Harvey. Arguments and Icons. Divergent modes of religiosity. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000. Google Scholar

  • Whitehouse, Harvey, and Lanman, Jonathan A. “The Ties That Bind Us: Ritual, Fusion, and Identification”. Current Anthropology 55:6 (2014), 674-695. Google Scholar

  • Wujastyk, Dominik. “Interpreting the Image of the Human Body”. International Journal of Hindu Studies 31:2 (2009), 189-228. Google Scholar

About the article


Received: 2015-06-24

Accepted: 2015-09-22

Published Online: 2016-02-23


Citation Information: Open Theology, ISSN (Online) 2300-6579, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opth-2016-0007.

Export Citation

©2016 Matylda Ciołkosz. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License. BY-NC-ND 3.0

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in