The Disenchantment of Problems: Musings on a Cognitive Turn in Intellectual History

in Journal of Religion in Europe
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This article responds to Hans Kippenberg's, Willem Drees's, and Ann Taves's commentaries on my book, The Problem of Disenchantment. It presents an overview of the key arguments of the book, clarifies its use of Problemgeschichte to reconceptualize Weber's notion of disenchantment, and discusses issues in the history and philosophy of science and religion. Finally, it elaborates on the use of recent cognitive theory in intellectual history. In particular, it argues that work in event cognition can help us reframe Weber's interpretive sociology and deepen the principle of methodological individualism. This helps us get a better view of what the ‘problems’ of Problemgeschichte really are, how they emerge, and why some of them may reach broader significance.

The Disenchantment of Problems: Musings on a Cognitive Turn in Intellectual History

in Journal of Religion in Europe



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AspremThe Problem of Disenchantment19.


AspremThe Problem of Disenchantment317–373.


Arthur EddingtonThe Nature of the Physical World (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press1928) 350.


Willem B. DreesReligion Science and Naturalism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press1996).


 See AspremThe Problem of Disenchantment291–298.


WeberEconomy and Society6.


 See especially AspremThe Problem of Disenchantment556–60.


AspremThe Problem of Disenchantment29; quote from Marco Sgarbi "Concepts vs. Ideas vs. Problems: Historiographical Strategies in Writing History of Philosophy" in Riccardo Pozzo and Marco Sgarbi (eds.) Begriffs- Ideen- und Problemgeschichte im 21. Jahrhundert (Wiesebaden: Harrassowitz Verlag 2011) 69–80 76.


Robert McCauleyWhy Religion Is Natural and Science Is Not (Oxford & New York: Oxford University Press2011).


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