Durkheim:religion and science

12 11 2007

I got in contact with the professor Massimo Rosati, who is the curator of the italian translation of “The elementary forms of religion” by Durkheim, Meltemi editor. He is a sociologist and he works at the University of Salerno, in Italy.

I asked him to explain one concept I found in the Conclusion of Durkheim work:

“…the main notions of scientific logics are of religious origin…”

This is a summery of what he answered to me.

“Durkheim thinks that between us and the primitives there is not such a big gap. The evidence of it is the scientific and logic way of thinking. The use of logic categories of thinking, for example, space, time, cause and force are at the basis of the scientific thinking and they originate from religion. Nowadays religion has lost its cognitive function, since we try to explain the origin of the world not through Genesis, but through evolution theory. But not because of this religion has no longer any function in society.

Religion as a pragmatic, dynamic function that Science doesn’t at all. Religion can move the individuals and the collectivity, Science cannot because it requires time. Opposite to Comte, Durkheim doesn’t think that science could be sacralized and become religion. In Durkheim opinion, rituals cannot be originated from Science. He believes instead in a complementary relationship between Faith and Reason, Religion and Science. And this is particularly important in the age we live nowadays.”

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