Religion and the Philosophy of Life Series.
This introductory lecture will examine the idea that the bio-energy of life itself is expressed through religious practices (that are teleological) and theologies that reflect the meanings of practice (and so the meanings of life itself and life mediated through language). In short, religions can be fruitfully accounted for in terms of the transformation of face-to-face social cognition at the level of culture that in turn controls face-to-face interactions through law or religious injunction and narrative.
This entails an empirical claim that the origins of religion can be explained in terms of the evolution of human interactivity that we call social cognition, a historical claim that philosophies of life have been articulated in the history of religions particularly through scholasticism, and a philosophical claim, itself grounded in the empirical and historical, that religions can be understood in terms of a realist ontology of life. All this will be set in the context of contemporary theories of life and the new realism in philosophy.
How do we account for the persistence of religion in human life? To answer this question these lectures will examine the idea of religion in relation to philosophies of life. In particular it will examine the thesis that life itself comes to expression through religions. This entails an empirical claim that the origins of religion can be explained in terms of the evolution of human interactivity, what we call social cognition; a historical claim that philosophies of life have operated within religions in terms of what we might call a transcendent teleology that have continued into secular modernity; and a philosophical claim we can account for the persistence of religion in terms of a realist ontology of life. The three lectures roughly correspond to these interrelated claims.