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The Penultimate CuriosityHow Science Swims in the Slipstream of Ultimate Questions$
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Roger Wagner and Andrew Briggs

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198747956

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198747956.001.0001

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Ultimate Curiosity

Ultimate Curiosity

(p.53) Chapter Seven Ultimate Curiosity
The Penultimate Curiosity

Roger Wagner

Andrew Briggs

Oxford University Press

This chapter first describes the cognitive science of religion, a multidisciplinary field that draws from anthropology, cognitive science, and evolutionary psychology to study the nature of religious thoughts and actions. It then explains the meaning of the terms ‘ultimate curiosity’ and ‘slipstream’, and asks how slipstream effects might provide a way of thinking about human curiosity. It suggests that particular configurations of ‘ultimate curiosity’ seem to have produced a powerful motivational slipstream in which the consequences of ‘penultimate curiosity’ became ever more spectacular. The temptation to close the gap between them—to make religion answer scientific questions or vice versa—and the ‘chutes’ that result are part of this story that must be considered.

Keywords:   cognitive science, religion, religious thoughts, human mind, slipstream

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