The natural foundations of religion

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In the Natural history of religion, Hume attempts to understand the origin of our folk belief in gods and spirits. These investigations are not, however, purely descriptive. Hume demonstrates that ontological commitment to supernatural agents depends on motivated reasoning and illusions of control. These beliefs cannot, then, be reflectively endorsed. This proposal must be taken seriously because it receives support from recent work on our psychological responses to uncertainty. It also compares quite favorably with its main competitors in the cognitive science of religion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)665-680
Number of pages16
JournalPhilosophical Psychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2014


  • Cognitive Science of Religion
  • Hume
  • Motivated Reasoning
  • Natural History of Religion
  • Positive Illusions
  • Unwelcome Belief


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