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Full title Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon [permalink]
Language English
Author Daniel Dennett (author)
Publisher Viking Books
Category Religion
Publication year 2006
ISBN 0-670-03472-X [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 448
Images Back flap of Breaking the Spell.Back of Breaking the Spell.Spine of Breaking the Spell.Front of Breaking the Spell.Front flap of Breaking the Spell.
Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • Preface

Part I: Opening Pandora's Box

  • 1 Breaking Which Spell?
    • 1 What's going on?
    • 2 A Working definition of religion
    • 3 To break or not to break
    • 4 Peering in the abyss
    • 5 Religion as a natural phenomenon
  • 2 Some Questions About Science
    • 1 Can science study religion?
    • 2 Should science study religion?
    • 3 Might music be bad for you?
    • 4 Would neglect be more benign?
  • 3 Why Good Things Happen
    • 1 Bringing out the best
    • 2 Cui bono?
    • 3 Asking what pays for religion
    • 4 A Martian's list of theories

Part II: The Evolution of Religion

  • 4 The Roots of Religion
    • 1 The births of religions
    • 2 The raw materials of religion
    • 3 How Nature deals with the problem of other minds
  • 5 Religion, the Early Days
    • 1 Too many agents: competition for rehearsal space
    • 2 Gods as interested parties
    • 3 Getting the gods to speak to us
    • 4 Shamans as hypnotists
    • 5 Memory-engineering devices in oral cultures
  • 6 The Evolution of Stewardship
    • 1 The music of religion
    • 2 Folk religion as practical know-how
    • 3 Creeping reflection and the birth of secrecy in religion
    • 4 The domestication of religions
  • 7 The Invention of Team Spirit
    • 1 A path paved with good intentions
    • 2 The ant colony and the corporation
    • 3 The growth market in religion
    • 4 A God you can talk to
  • 8 Belief in Belief
    • 1 You better believe it
    • 2 God as intentional object
    • 3 The division of doxastic labor
    • 4 The lowest common denominator?
    • 5 Beliefs designed to be professed
    • 6 Lessons from Lebanon: the strange cases of the Druze and Kim Philby
    • 7 Does God exist?

Part III: Religion Today

  • 9 Toward a Buyer's Guide to Religions
    • 1 For the love of God
    • 2 The academic smoke screen
    • 3 Why does it matter what you believe?
    • 4 What can your religion do for you?
  • 10 Morality and Religion
    • 1 Does religion make us moral?
    • 2 Is religion what gives meaning to your life?
    • 3 What can we say about sacred values?
    • 4 Bless my soul: spirituality and selfishness
  • 11 Now What Do We Do?
    • 1 Just a theory
    • 2 Some avenues to explore: how can we home in on religious conviction?
    • 3 What shall we tell the children?
    • 4 Toxic memes
    • 5 Patience and politics
  • Appendixes
  • A The New Replicators
  • B Some More Questions About Science
  • C The Bellboy and the Lady Named Tuck
  • D Kim Philby as a Real Case of Indeterminacy of Radical Interpretation
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index

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