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Moral, Believing AnimalsHuman Personhood and Culture$
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Christian Smith

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780195162028

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195162028.001.0001

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Living Narratives

Living Narratives

Chapter:
(p.63) FOUR Living Narratives
Source:
Moral, Believing Animals
Author(s):

Christian Smith

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195162028.003.0004

The earliest humans huddled around fires to listen to shamans and elders telling imaginative stories by which they made sense of their world and their lives in it. They told myths about the world's origins, and about how they as people came to be. In modern times, through progress, enlightenment, and cultural evolution, human now possess positive knowledge, scientific facts, and rational analysis. This is the dominant narrative by which modern humans make sense of their world and the purpose of their lives in it. This chapter raises question about the truth of this dominant narration. The point is that for all of their science, rationality, and technology, modern human beings are no less the makers, tellers, and believers of narrative construals of existence, history, and purpose than were their forefathers.

Keywords:   earliest humans, enlightenment, cultural evolution, modern humans, narration

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