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Title: Folk psychology of the self and afterlife beliefs : the case of Mongolian Buddhists
Author: Berniunas , Renatas
ISNI:       0000 0004 2740 8516
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2012
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This PhD dissertation is a cognitive anthropological investigation of the folk psychology of the self in the context of Mongolian Buddhist beliefs of personal continuity after death. In most general terms, folk psychology will be the central topic in relation to which other concepts will be discussed. The concepts of self and personal identity within folk psychology comprise the more specific topic to be focused on. Then, all that discussion will be applied to particular cultural phenomena - religious concepts and afterlife beliefs. And this latter discussion will be embedded in the discussion about cultural transmission of religious concepts. For the most part, cultural transmission will be approached from a perspective of cultural epidemiology. Finally, at the most particular level, these cultural phenomena will be empirically investigated in the Mongolian Buddhist context. This dissertation will be interested in the possibility of a universal folk psychology of the self and its constraining effect in the process of cultural transmission. Thus, my aim will be to characterise the elements of the folk psychology of the self and how it might play a causal role in the folk conception of personal continuity after death or afterlife beliefs. This approach will be contrasted with a cognitive account that posits innate basis afterlife beliefs. Furthermore, it is important to empirically demonstrate that such a connection exists. Therefore, the cultural context under investigation is one that explicitly teaches that the self lacks, for instance, such properties as unchangeable locus of experience. Buddhist contexts stand as a potential challenge here. I have conducted a one year fieldwork in Mongolia and did experimental studies with local Buddhists in order to test my hypothesis about the folk psychology of self.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available