Dr. Sebastian Müller

Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
Graduiertenkolleg 1876
Hegelstr. 59
55122 Mainz

E-mail: semuelle@uni-mainz.de

Project title: "Natural ideas"


The aspired project is supposed to contribute to explaining social and cultural phenomena in history and present in a more complete way. In order to do so, it shall be demonstrated that certain mental representations which play an important role for the genesis of, e.g., certain forms of religion and science and their development, are more natural. Because of this, they occur more often and so give certain social and cultural processes an advance concerning the frequence of their occurence, their persistence and influence.

This project essentially connects results from evolutionary biology and psychology and prehistory, early history and social anthropology. The evolution through several millions of years is the only plausible explanation for the genesis of a structure of the human mind which makes certain ideas natural and others unnatural. Data from prehistory and early history as well as from certain indigenous cultures constitute the best available evidence for claims about natural ideas and can also be explained in a more satisfactory way than without these. Finally the claims stated here are supposed to have explanatory value even for contemporary phenomena, like the widespread.