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Friday, October 15, 2004

David Sloan Wilson

Keen to bolster the ailing concept of superorganism (ailing thanks to what in the philosophy of social and behavioral science is called Methodological Individualism, but also the more obvious difficulties in perceiving higher levels of structure,) DSW writes the (1997)foreward to intellectual mercenary Howard Bloom's (1995)The Lucifer Principle: A Scientific Expedition into the Forces of History :

"...The bone of contention is the organismic nature of human society. Thomas Hobbes and many others of his time regarded individuals as the cells and organs of a giant social organism--a Leviathan--'Which is but an artificial man, though of greater stature and strength than the natural, for whose protection and defence it was intended.' Today this idea is regarded as no more than a fanciful metaphor."

Hence DSW's recent Darwin's Cathedral which applies his multilevel selection theory to human social phenomena, specifically religion.
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Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Came across a fascinating 1999 treatise on "Experiencing Religion and Explaining Experience from Wesley to James" by Ann Taves covering 1740-1820 "formalism, enthusiasm and true religion," 1820-1890 "popular psychology and popular religion," 1886-1910 "religion and the subconscious."

A good compliment would be Coleen McDonnel's "Material Christianity".

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