En känsla för det heliga : En undersökning av den samtida emotionsforskningens möjliga bidrag till religionsfilosofin

Sammanfattning: In this thesis I examine the possibility of critically using material from contemporary emotion theory to develop a fruitful model for understanding the potential epistemic relevance of emotions in religious contexts. The relevance of this thesis is mainly twofold: since religion is an emotional phenomenon, the possible normative epistemic role of emotions needs to be examined. This is a question for the philosophy of religion, but not one that has been much explored. Contemporary emotion research provides promising tools for such an examination, but these tools have only been utilized to a minor degree in the field.In chapter 1, the preliminaries for my inquiry is articulated. In chapters 2 and 3, I evaluate psychophysiological, psychological and philosophical emotion research and find that the philosophical reasons and the empirical evidence speak in favor of a perceptual theory of emotion. In chapter 4, I examine how emotions, being perceptions, are of epistemic relevance. Focusing on a metaphysical discourse I come to the conclusion that emotions are of strong epistemic relevance. In chapter 5, I examine the possibility of giving emotions, being perceptions that are of strong epistemic relevance, an epistemological framework. For this I use the pragmatic philosophy of John Dewey and conceive of emotions as habits, or part of habits, which are indispensable for certain human inquiries and knowings.In chapter 6 I turn to religion. I conceptualize religion as lived, and epistemic in that it offers certain goods that agents, being participants in religious spheres of practice, can utilize to deal with existential problems, inter alia, situations involving transcendence. My conclusion is that emotions, given the kind of problems that religious goods can help agents to handle, enable agents to examine the utility of such goods and implement them in their lives. Since this is an epistemic process, and these goods are utilized in many different spheres of practice, I choose to speak of emotions as enabling and justifying religious ways of life. In the end, emotions are about living and hence philosophical work about religious emotions becomes philosophical work about religious practice.