Thinking Through Rituals: Philosophical Perspectives
Psychology Press, 2004 - Religion - 278 pages
Many philosophical approaches today seek to overcome the division between mind and body. If such projects succeed, then thinking is not restricted to the disembodied mind, but is in some sense done through the body. From a post-Cartesian perspective, then, ritual activities that discipline the body are not just thoughtless motions, but crucial parts of the way people think.
Thinking Through Rituals explores religious ritual acts and their connection to meaning and truth, belief, memory, inquiry, worldview and ethics. Drawing on philosophers such as Foucault, Merleau-Ponty and Wittgenstein, and sources from cognitive science, pragmatism and feminist theory, it provides philosophical resources for understanding religious ritual practices like the Christian Eucharistic ceremony, Hatha Yoga, sacred meditation or liturgical speech.
Its essays consider a wide variety of rituals in Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism and Buddhism - including political protest rituals and gay commitment ceremonies, traditional Vedic and Yogic rites, Christian and Buddhist meditation and the Jewish Shabbat. They challenge the traditional disjunction between thought and action, showing how philosophy can help to illuminate the relationship between doing and meaning which ritual practices imply.
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action agents Agnicayana argues Asad behavior bodily body techniques Bourdieu Buddhaghosa Catherine Bell ceremony Christ Christian cognitive cognitive science conception Confucian context cultural desires developed discipline dispositions embodied emotion epistemology ethical Eucharist example experience feminist Feminist Philosophy Foucault Frazer God's Golden Bough habits hermeneutics human individual inquiry interpretation involves Jantzen Jewish Kepnes Knoblock language liturgy Mauss McCauley means Medhatithi Mendelssohn Merleau-Ponty metaphysics Mimamsa mind moral cultivation nature norms objects one's Oxford Peirce Peirce's performance perspective philosophy of religion Pierre Bourdieu practical reason reality recitations relation relationship religious belief religious rituals representations rites ritual activities ritual order ritual participation ritual practice role Rosenzweig Routledge Samaveda scapegoat sense Shabbat smrti social society specific spiritual Staal structure study of rituals suggests symbolic theory things thinking tion tradition trans transformation understanding Vedas Vedic Vedic ritual virtue Wittgenstein Xunzi York