Psychological Innateness and Representations of God: Implications of the Innateness Controversy for the Study Of Religious Concepts
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The author examines a means by which cognitive psychological notions of innateness might address the question ofhow the concept ofGod might be said to he \"natural\" or \"instinctive.\" He draws a distinction hetM\'een innate cognitive nuchanisms and innate cognitive content, and examines the concept of innateness from the perspectives of two major cognitive psychological theories of mind: computationalism and connectionism. He argues that, from the cognitive psychological perspective, concept(s) of God (or gods) cannot be said to be strictly innate, but that the development of the God concept does appear to be constrained by innate psychological structures and processes. He concludes by suggesting that the psychological origin of the God-concept may be best described as a sort of \"primal behavior\"—the inevitable product of interaction between innately determined psychological mechanisms and aspects of the environment that are common to all members of a population.