Tuesday, August 17, 2010

empirical inquiry, logical consequence

To be sure, this was the experience of Europe. However, the applicability of this stance across other contexts and other cultures depends upon the truth of the other premises in the reasoning. If any/all of these premises are false, logical deduction does not guarantee the truth of the conclusion. In other words, this is a question for empirical enquiry. Yet, how many books on religion do not begin by defining religion as a mechanism of social integration? How many people do not definitionally decide the issue that religion transforms a set of individuals into a community? How many anthropological/ethnographic treatises do not describe the lives and practices of the Buddhist, Hindu, Shinto, Confucian, etc., communities? Alas, indefinitely many. The line between the Christian missionaries guided by their religious beliefs and the modern day anthropologists guided by their ‘sciences’ appears continuous and unbroken.

pp. 106-7

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