Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Supernatural AgentsWhy We Believe in Souls, Gods, and Buddhas$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Ilkka Pyysiäinen

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195380026

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195380026.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 22 October 2019

Conclusion

Conclusion

Chapter:
(p.173) 6 Conclusion
Source:
Supernatural Agents
Author(s):

Ilkka Pyysiäinen

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195380026.003.0006

Focusing on human intuitions about agency and intentionality helps understand beliefs about spirits, gods, and buddhas. Supernatural agents are beings with animacy and mentality, combined with a nonstandard bodily form. In transcending individual corporeal boundaries, supernatural agents represent the shared knowledge of a group (my beliefs about your beliefs about our beliefs …) Durkheim’s view of religion as the “social glue” thus is possibly only because of spirit beliefs. Reflective ideas about gods and buddhas are highly elaborated spirit beliefs. They are culture-specific versions of the cross-culturally recurrent pattern of a “promiscuous teleology,” the tendency to see everything as happening for a purpose. This phenomenon is based on hyperactive agency detection (HAD), hyperactive understanding of intentionality (HUI), and hyperactive teleological reasoning (HTR). Supernatural agent concepts are contagious because they resonate with an innate tendency to understand more or less everything in teleological terms.

Keywords:   agency, intentionality, animacy, mentality, hyperactive agency detection, hyperactive teleological reasoning

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .