chapter  6
21 Pages

Steps to an Integration of Developmental Cognitivism and Depth Psychology

WithCharles W. Nuckolls

When one speaks of natural ontologies, their postulation and violation, the model of the mind advanced assumes that existential assumptions follow from the observation of perceived regularities. The mind records these regularities, and whether or not this capacity is innate (Boyer and Sperber) or task-derived (Ingold), the process itself unfolds in predictable succession. The developing mind violates naturally observed and associated regularities, and this induces conceptualization of superhuman agencies, the basis of all organized religions. While providing significant insight, the developmental cognitivism of Boyer and others (for example Lawson and McCauley 1990) is rooted in a long tradition – the tradition that begins with the question of why 'natural' rationality, based on the perception of associated regularities, subverts itself in apparently irrational religious belief. Developmental cognitivism resides intellectually in the world of eighteenth-century rationalism, and the answer it gives preserves one version of the Enlightenment ideal of mind, leaving it unconflicted and without the deep and troubling desires Freud introduced over a century later.