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Reason, Freedom and Religion

Closing the Gap Between the Humanistic and Scientific Study of Religion


Lorne Dawson

This book argues the advantages of using an unconventional method of social science, the argument from rationality, to ameliorate the disruptive methodological schism which exists between humanistic and social scientific perspectives in Religionswissenschaft and the sociology of religion. The argument from rationality curbs the reductive thrust of conventional scientific accounts of religion by integrating the power of human choice, and religious references to the transcendent, into a viable mode of explanation for social and religious action. Attention is focused on the role, character, and limits of the judgements of rationality undergirding the practice of the social sciences.
Contents: The free will-determinism debate in sociology - The debate over reductionism in religious studies - The positivism-humanism debate in the social sciences.