Beyond Heaven and Earth

Beyond Heaven and Earth A Cognitive Theory of Religion

Paperback (20 Jan 2022)

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Publisher's Synopsis

In Beyond Heaven and Earth, Gabriel Levy argues that collective religious narratives and beliefs are part of nature; they are the basis for the formation of the narratives and beliefs of individuals. Religion grows out of the universe, but to make sense of it we have to recognise the paradox that the universe is both mental and material (or neither). We need both humanities and natural science approaches to study religion and religious meaning, Levy contends, but we must also recognise the limits of these approaches. First, we must make the dominant metaphysics that undergird the various disciplines of science and humanities more explicit, and second, we must reject those versions of metaphysics that maintain simple monisms and radical dualisms. Bringing Donald Davidson's philosophy-a form of pragmatism known as anomalous monism-to bear on religion, Levy offers a blueprint for one way that the humanities and natural sciences can have a mutually respectful dialogue. Levy argues that in order to understand religions we have to take their semantic content seriously. We need to rethink such basic concepts as narrative fiction, information, agency, creativity, technology, and intimacy. In the course of his argument, Levy considers the relation between two closely related semantics, fiction and religion, and outlines a new approach to information. He then applies his theory to discrete cases: ancient texts, modern media, and intimacy.

Book information

ISBN: 9780262543248
Publisher: The MIT Press
Imprint: The MIT Press
Pub date:
DEWEY: 210
DEWEY edition: 23
Language: English
Number of pages: xiii, 226
Weight: 434g
Height: 152mm
Width: 229mm
Spine width: 28mm