Functionalism Since Hempel

Functionalism Since Hempel brill.nl/mtsr M E T H O D T H E O R Y in the S T U D Y O F R E L I G I O N & © Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2010 DOI: 10.1163/157006810X531120 Method and Theory in the Study of Religion 22 (2010) 340-353 Functionalism Since Hempel Robert A. Segal * School of Divinity, History and Philosophy, University of Aberdeen, King’s Quadrangle, Aberdeen AB24 3UB, Scotland, UK r.segal@abdn.ac.uk Abstract It is usually assumed that, as an approach to religion, or to culture in general, functionalism is passé . Functionalism has been superseded by structuralism, poststructuralism, and postmodern- ism. Yet the appeal of functionalism as an explanation of the existence or persistence of religion has meant the continuing appearance of functionalist works on religion, which hail mainly from the social sciences. This article focuses on the philosophical problems posed by functionalism. Some of those problems are hoary. Others, while already recognized, were presented in their classic form in 1959 by Carl Hempel. Only those social scientists with philosophical proclivities were ever affected by Hempel’s challenge. Their unanimous response has been to try to meet the challenge, and the fate of functionalism has been http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Method & Theory in the Study of Religion Brill

Functionalism Since Hempel

Method & Theory in the Study of Religion, Volume 22 (4): 340 – Jan 1, 2010

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
© 2010 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
0943-3058
eISSN
1570-0682
D.O.I.
10.1163/157006810X531120
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

brill.nl/mtsr M E T H O D T H E O R Y in the S T U D Y O F R E L I G I O N & © Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2010 DOI: 10.1163/157006810X531120 Method and Theory in the Study of Religion 22 (2010) 340-353 Functionalism Since Hempel Robert A. Segal * School of Divinity, History and Philosophy, University of Aberdeen, King’s Quadrangle, Aberdeen AB24 3UB, Scotland, UK r.segal@abdn.ac.uk Abstract It is usually assumed that, as an approach to religion, or to culture in general, functionalism is passé . Functionalism has been superseded by structuralism, poststructuralism, and postmodern- ism. Yet the appeal of functionalism as an explanation of the existence or persistence of religion has meant the continuing appearance of functionalist works on religion, which hail mainly from the social sciences. This article focuses on the philosophical problems posed by functionalism. Some of those problems are hoary. Others, while already recognized, were presented in their classic form in 1959 by Carl Hempel. Only those social scientists with philosophical proclivities were ever affected by Hempel’s challenge. Their unanimous response has been to try to meet the challenge, and the fate of functionalism has been

Journal

Method & Theory in the Study of ReligionBrill

Published: Jan 1, 2010

Keywords: Rappaport; Hempel; Cummins; Weber; functionalism; Radcliffe-Brown

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