Causal Thinking in the Prayer Practices of Traditional and Christian Spiritual Leaders of the Kankanaey (Philippines)

Gossman, Paul (1996) Causal Thinking in the Prayer Practices of Traditional and Christian Spiritual Leaders of the Kankanaey (Philippines). Doctoral thesis, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.

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The causal thinking of traditional (animistic) and Christian spiritual leaders of the Kankanaey (Philippines) was investigated through an intensive cognitive analysis of statements found in their prayers and in their explanations of the same. Basic theoretical assumptions for the research were derived from Robin Horton's intellectualist theory. An integrative and interdisciplinary model of universals of causal thought analysis was developed as a framework for identifying the essential components of their contrasting causal systems. Utilizing methods adapted from cognition and artificial intelligence studies, text analysis produced graphic representations of the informants' causal statement networks, from which were identified the propositional and performative functions of their prayers, and the prominent features of their causal thought, namely the universals of causal logics, analogies, domains, and modes. Findings for traditionalists and Christians were compared. Traditionalists and Christians alike acknowledged their prayers to function propositionally. The public didactic value of traditional prayers increased with formality. Christian leaders more strongly affirmed the explanatory nature of their prayers but offered in them little explanation of misfortune. The performative function, or causal efficacy, of traditional prayers varied according to the supernatural agent addressed, the causal domain in which influence was sought, and the satisfaction of ritual requirements. The efficacy of Christian prayers varied more according to external and internal antecedents such as the will of God and the faith of the persons involved. Christian leaders viewed the actual causal agency of prayer in strikingly different ways. Traditional spiritual leaders exhibited greater unity of thought than did Christian leaders. They understood a wide variety of supernatural agents to effect the events in their lives, largely with logics of ritual propriety, reciprocity, external causality, and immediacy. Familiar domains were explained differently from those unfamiliar. Christian causal understandings spanned much of the continuum between traditional and nontraditional thought, but were generally marked by moral propriety, internal causality, and intermediacy. Christian spiritual leaders who utilized more nontraditional thought distinguished between physical and spiritual, and tangible and psychological domains. Members of both groups accommodated for cultural change by adopting either salient elements, or operational causal logics, of the other group.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: cultural performance, cultural performance criticism, folklore, Kankanaey, religion
Depositing User: Machine Whisperer
Date Deposited: 13 Jun 2017 08:09
Last Modified: 13 Jun 2017 08:09

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