The Extended Mind and Religious Cognition

New paper from the very excellent Joel Krueger. See also Joel’s Empathy and the Extended Mind paper from a few years back along with other papers discussing this topic.

One of the primary functions of religious texts — along with the different rituals and forms of worship constructed with them — is, precisely, to take over part of the remembering process for the believer. Like Otto’s notebook-bound belief that MoMA is on 53rd street, so, too, are some of the faithful’s dispositional beliefs housed in frequently consulted devotional texts. Many people carry analogue (printed) or digital (in tablets or smartphones) versions of theses texts constantly, making them accessible on a moment’s notice. From the perspective of ExM, relying on these texts — as well as manipulating other objects such as a Catholic rosary or Hindu Japa Mala prayer beads — ought to count as a part of the physical process comprising the individual’s faithful disposition or religious sentiment.