This article is based on Tylor's work on animism and Durkheim's work The Elementary Forms of the religious Life. One of the main problems of an anthropological study of religions is to find the objectivity that every science requires. For example do we need to be believers or atheists to study a religion scientifically? Most of the studies need one to choose a point of view before beginning the study. In this case we are confronted with a functionalist and symbolic study. This however is not the only difficulty that we are faced with, given the fact that some anthropological studies are accused of falling into evolutionism and reductionism.
[...] Anthropological debates on definition and origin This article is based on the Tylor's work on animism and Durkheim's work The Elementary Forms of the religious Life. One of the main problems for an anthropological study of religions is to find the objectivity that requires every science. For example do we need to be a believer or an atheist to study a religion scientifically? Then most of the studies choose a point of view before beginning the study: here we are in front of a functionnalist and a symbolic study. [...]
[...] Durkheim opposes that religion can't only come from dreams and its origin is to be find in reality. Taylor only explains why all men have imagined and developed the concept of soul. But this can't explain the impact, the penetration of religion as far as laws, thoughts, opinions, sciences, spirits are concerned: How could a vain fantasy have been able to fashion the human consciousness so strongly and so durably?''. Here comes the main debate on the origin of religion. [...]
[...] Here we have different answers which can be linked. First of all, Tylor focuses on the idea of soul, which is for him “an animating, separable, surviving entity, the vehicle of individual personal existence”. In his opinion we can find this idea of soul in every society, in every religion. So this concept both allows a definition of religion and a study of its evolutions .To, the primitive religions like animism are based on the idea of soul , and give a soul to human beings , animals and even plants. [...]
[...] That theory contradicts the idea of an evolution of soul in society from a material vision in savage societies'' to a metaphysic vision in civilized religions: soul is both for Durkheim. This can be explained because religious force for Durkheim comes from the collective force of the clan. That is to say that when a worshiper venerates God, he's venerating is society which is a vast and complex symbolic system (metaphysical). Then during the ceremonies he can visualize and take conscience of what are the values of society (material vision). [...]
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