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  • Author or Editor: Paulo Sousa x
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Abstract

Kinship used to be described as what anthropologists do. Today, many might well say that it is what anthropologists do not do. One possible explanation is that the notion of kinship fell off anthropology's radar due to the criticisms raised by Needham and Schneider among others, which supposedly demonstrated that kinship is not a sound theoretical concept. Drawing inspiration from epidemiological approaches to cultural phenomena, this article aims to enrich this explanation. Kinship became an unattractive theoretical concept in the subculture of anthropology not simply because of problems with kinship theory per se, but also on account of fundamental changes in the very conception of anthropological knowledge and the impact of these changes on the personal identity of anthropologists.

In: Journal of Cognition and Culture
In: Journal of Cognition and Culture
In: Method & Theory in the Study of Religion

Abstract

Individuals who have been subtly reminded of death display heightened in-group favoritism, or “worldview defense.” Terror management theory argues (i) that death cues engender worldview defense via psychological mechanisms specifically evolved to suppress death anxiety, and (ii) that the core function of religiosity is to suppress death anxiety. Thus, terror management theory predicts that extremely religious individuals will not evince worldview defense. Here, two studies are presented in support of an alternative perspective. According to the unconscious vigilance hypothesis, subtly processed threats (which need not pertain to death) heighten sensitivity to affectively valenced stimuli (which need not pertain to cultural attitudes). From this perspective, religiosity mitigates the influence of mortality-salience only insofar as afterlife doctrines reduce the perceived threat posed by death. Tibetan Buddhism portrays death as a perilous gateway to rebirth rather than an end to suffering; faith in this doctrine should therefore not be expected to nullify mortality-salience effects. In Study 1, devout Tibetan Buddhists who were subtly reminded of death produced exaggerated aesthetic ratings unrelated to cultural worldviews. In Study 2, devout Tibetan Buddhists produced worldview defense following subliminal exposure to non-death cues of threat. The results demonstrate both the domain-generality of the process underlying worldview defense and the importance of religious doctrinal content in moderating mortality-salience effects.

In: Journal of Cognition and Culture
In: Journal of Cognition and Culture
In: Journal of Cognition and Culture
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Abstract

Many theoretical claims about the folk concept of moral responsibility coming from the current literature are indeterminate because researchers do not clearly specify the folk concept of moral responsibility in question. The article pursues a cognitive approach to folk concepts that pays special attention to this indeterminacy problem. After addressing the problem, the article provides evidence on folk attributions of moral responsibility in the case a failed attempt to kill that goes against a specific claim coming from the current literature – that the dimension of causation is part of the structure of the folk concept of moral responsibility.

In: Journal of Cognition and Culture
In: Amphibia-Reptilia