The language of habit plays a central role in traditional accounts of the virtues, yet it has received only modest attention among contemporary scholars of philosophy, psychology, and religion. This volume explores the role of both “mere habits” and sophisticated habitus in the moral life. Beginning with an essay by Stanley Hauerwas and edited by Gregory R. Peterson, James A. Van Slyke, Michael L. Spezio, and Kevin S. Reimer, the volume explores the history of the virtues and habit in Christian thought, the contributions that psychology and neuroscience make to our understanding of habitus, freedom, and character formation, and the relation of habit and habitus to contemporary philosophical and theological accounts of character formation and the moral life.
Contributors are: Joseph Bankard, Dennis Bielfeldt, Craig Boyd, Charlene Burns, Mark Graves, Brian Green, Stanley Hauerwas, Todd Junkins, Adam Martin, Darcia Narvaez, Gregory R. Peterson, Kevin S. Reimer, Lynn C. Reimer, Michael L. Spezio, Kevin Timpe, and George Tsakiridis.
Luther H. Martin and Donald Wiebe together have spent the better part of a century exploring possibilities for a scientific study of religion. The following essays are a record of their conversations together and of their conversations and controversies with a number of leading scholars in religious studies that address that possibility. As with any scientific endeavor, knowledge advances when research assumptions and experimental designs are collegially discussed and critically assessed. It is hoped that these essays might provide the occasion for scholars in the field to discuss the theoretical and methodological issues they have raised, to debate and expand upon them, or, in the spirit of forthright scientific inquiry, to refute the arguments they have made.
Why is religion so important to individuals and societies? What gives religion its profound meaningfulness and longevity? Enhancing perspectives taken from sociology and ritual theory,
Religion, Emergence, and the Origins of Meaning describes how ‘emergence theory’ – developed to make sense of
mind – explains why religious communities are special when compared to ordinary human social groups. Paul Cassell argues that in religious ritual, beliefs concerning unseen divine agencies are made uniquely potent, inviting and guiding powerful, alternative experiences, and giving religious groups a form of organization distinct from ordinary human social groups. Going beyond the foundational descriptions of Émile Durkheim and Roy Rappaport, Cassell utilizes the best of 21st century emergence theory to characterize religion’s emergent dynamics.