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  1. 1. A Myth to bebroken!!!!
  2. 2. ABSTRACT Unlike the usual problems in the society we had chosen this concept which may be considered as less importance but if it is left uncared may become one of the serious issue in our society. Thus we had done this project with the help of our teacher, parents and friends. So we just welcome to look into our ideas.
  3. 3. What is superstition ?Superstitions are beliefs that certain things or events will bring good or bad luck.Every culture has superstitions.
  5. 5. •A dog howling at nightchills the blood – a portentof approaching death.
  6. 6. •Hiccups indicatesomeone is thinking of you.• An itchy eye refers tosomeone maligning you, oryour envy of someone.
  7. 7. A barber shop remainsclosed on Tuesday ashair should not be cuton that day
  8. 8. •Nails should not becut at night for fear ofevil spirits.
  9. 9. •Twitching of the eyeis highlyinauspicious.
  10. 10. THIS IS SOME OF THE SUPERSTITIONS OF OTHER COUNTRIES1.Some people carry a rabbit’s foot on a key ring andthink four-leaf clovers ( a clover with four leavesinstead of the usual three). 2.The Americans think that knocking on woodprevents good luck changing to bad, so they oftenuse the expression “ knock on wood”.
  11. 11. Let us see someof the Japanesesuperstitions?
  12. 12. In Japan there are certain things they will not do because it maycause bad luck.A few examples are:The number four:The number four is considered inauspicious because it ispronounced the same as the word for death (shi). Therefore, oneshould not make gift that consist of four pieces, etc.In some hotels and hospitals the room number four is skipped.Stick chopsticks into the rice:Do not stick your chopsicks into your food generally, butespecially not into rice, because only at funerals, chopsticks arestuck into the rice which is put onto the altar.
  13. 13. Give food from chopstick to chopstick: This is only done with the bones of the cremated body at funerals .Sleeping towards the North: Do not sleep towards the North because bodies are laid down like that.Cut nails at night: If you cut your nails at night, you will not be with your parents when they die.Lie down after eating: If you lie down immediately after eating, you will become a cow.
  14. 14. Whistle in the night: If you whistle in the night, a snake will come to you. Black cat:There are also some imported superstitions such as the believethat black cats crossing the street in front of you cause bad luck.In many shrines, temples and souvenir shops, amulets are soldthat are supposed to bring luck, safety or good fortune. There areamulets for money, health, love, success on exams, safety on thestreets, etc. Small pieces of paper (omikuji) that predict yourfuture are also available. These pieces of paper are tied aroundthe branch of a tree after reading; either to make the good fortunecome true or to avoid the predicted bad fortune.
  15. 15. R EFERENCE : Since it is a vast subject to deal with we have taken some reference from available webpage which we feel helpful for us to make people understand more effectively, moreover some scientist‟s observations and thoughts are provided here. Let us go through it !!!
  17. 17. FIRST-FOOTING It is lucky when a tall man walks into a house first in the New Year Is this a scientific hypothesis? Why not? Is it something about the hypothesis? Is it something about our attitudes? Is it something about how it was reached?
  18. 18. OUTLINE Elements of superstitions Superstition, magic & religion 3 different views of superstition Superstition as science What is the difference? Empirical limits Conclusions
  19. 19. ELEMENTS OF SUPERSTITIONS  Superstitious beliefs  Superstitious practices  The link between them
  20. 20. ELEMENTS OF A SUPERSTITION Superstitious belief  „Action‟  Crossing fingers  Can be just an event – Friday 13 th  „Effect‟  Potentially desirable or undesirable event  Connection  Causation/conjuration or prediction/divination  Explanation  Luck  No natural explanation  Supernatural explanation
  21. 21. ELEMENTS OF A SUPERSTITION Superstitious practice  Taking or avoiding the „action‟  Avoiding black cats  Success uncertain  Function  Manifest  To avoid or bring about the „effect‟  Latent  Can be very different  First-footing again  Predicting or causing?
  22. 22. ELEMENTS OF A SUPERSTITION The link between beliefs and practices  Generally problematic  Focussing on practices  Skinner‟s behaviourism  Beliefs secondary  Focussing on beliefs  Superstition satisfying internal needs  Practices secondary
  23. 23. SUPERSTITION, MAGIC & RELIGION Magic & religion Magic & superstition Religion & superstition
  24. 24. SUPERSTITION, MAGIC & RELIGION Magic & religion  E. Durkheim 1912  Sacred vs. profane  Religion  Social function  Magic  Individual function  D. S. Wilson 2002  Evolutionary explanation of religion  Social function as group-selection
  25. 25. SUPERSTITION, MAGIC & RELIGION Magic & superstition  Magic  Traditional societies  Superstition  Modern society  Relation?  Different phenomena  Same phenomenon / different contexts  Education and superstition (Jahoda 1969)  Jumper example
  26. 26. SUPERSTITION, MAGIC & RELIGION Religion & superstition  Deisidaimonia  Misplaced fear of daimons  Theophrastus, circa 300 BC  Superstition is false religion  Worship of demons  Aquinas, circa 1250 AD  Atheist generalisation  All religion is false  Therefore, superstition is all religion  Can differentiate religion & superstition  Some religious practices superstitious  Intercessory prayer
  27. 27. 3 VIEWS OF SUPERSTITION  Superstition as fantasy  Superstition as rhetoric  Superstition as science
  28. 28. 3 VIEWS OF SUPERSTITION Superstition as fantasy  Attempted retreat from threatening/ uncontrollable reality  Anxiety-reduction (Malinowski 1925)  Retaining feeling of control (Case et all 2004)  “The man under the sway of impotent fury or dominated by thwarted hate spontaneously clenches his fists and carries out imaginary thrusts at his enemy, muttering imprecations, casting words of hatred and anger against him.” – Malinowski “Magic, Science, and Religion”
  29. 29. 3 VIEWS OF SUPERSTITION Superstition as rhetoric  Attempted communication  Use of language to induce motion in things (Burke 1969)  Costly signalling (Tambiah 1990)  Accepting authority (Palmer 1989)  “By communicating acceptance of a supernatural claim one is communicating a willingness to accept the speaker‟s influence unskeptically.” - Palmer “The ritual taboos of fishermen”
  30. 30. 3 VIEWS OF SUPERSTITION Superstition as science  Attempt to understand/control the world  Primitive science (Frazer 1890)  Adventitious reinforcement (Skinner 1947)  Biased cognitive heuristics (Rozin & Nemeroff 1980)  “Magic is a spurious system of natural law as well as a fallacious guide of conduct; it is a false science as well as an abortive art.” - Frazer, Golden Bough
  31. 31. SUPERSTITION AS SCIENCE? Question of focus Primitive science Adventitious reinforcement Biased cognitive heuristics
  32. 32. SUPERSTITION AS SCIENCE? Question of focus  Superstitious beliefs vs. scientific beliefs  Superstitious methods vs. scientific methods Both options incomplete  Would „superstitious‟ beliefs be scientific if arrived at scientifically?  Could they be arrived at scientifically?  Is there such a thing as „magical thinking‟?  Or is it that thinking sometimes leads to magical beliefs?
  33. 33. SUPERSTITION AS SCIENCE? Primitive science  Tylor 1871, Frazer 1890, Levy-Bruhl 1910  Superstition identified with primitive societies/minds  Science identified with modern societies/minds  Progress seen as directed „evolution‟  Enlightenment / Intellectualist position  Rationality expels superstition
  34. 34. SUPERSTITION AS SCIENCE? Adventitious reinforcement  B.F. Skinner 1947, S. Vyse 1997  Superstition in a pigeon  Skinner box  Operant conditioning  Independent reinforcement schedule  „Superstitious behaviour‟  “Operant conditioning is not just for rats and pigeons” - Vyse
  35. 35. SUPERSTITION AS SCIENCE?  Adventitious reinforcement  Matrix task  4 x 4 matrix   Move dot from top left to bottom right  Task: Find out when points are gained  Points awarded randomly  Numerous theories put forward  Similar situations  Malfunctioning light switch  Conditioning as basis for understanding science?
  36. 36. SUPERSTITION AS SCIENCE? Biased cognitive heuristics  Domain-specific  Generally effective  Systematically biased  Heuristics and biases (Kahneman & Tversky 1974)  Bounded rationality (H. Simon 1972)  Scientific methods as heuristics (W. Wimsatt 2007)  Contagion heuristic  Rozin & Nemeroff 1980
  37. 37. WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE? Truth& empirical adequacy Natural vs. supernatural Sacred vs. profane
  38. 38. WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE? Truth & empirical adequacy  Superstitions as false causal beliefs  Often used definition  Many false causal beliefs, some scientific  Superstitions not just false but (known to be) empirically inadequate  Scientific beliefs rejected due to empirical inadequacy  Can not equate Newton‟s physics with his astrology  Is „onto something‟  But superstitious beliefs „look different‟
  39. 39. WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE? Natural vs. supernatural  Superstitions as supernatural claims  Problems  Vague concept  Circularity?  Distinction much later than category  Correlation between superstitious and pseudoscientific beliefs  Succubi become aliens  Post hoc explanations  Is „onto something‟
  40. 40. WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE? Sacred vs. profane  Durkheim  Explaining a cognitive category in terms of a social phenomenon?  Is „onto something‟  But, again, superstitions „look different‟
  41. 41. EMPIRICAL LIMITS Observability & superstitions Observability & functions Agnosticism about explanations
  42. 42. EMPIRICAL LIMITS B. van Fraassen  The Scientific Image 1980  Limits of observability  Actual empirical limitations  Ability to discern small objects  Limits change over time  Agnosticism about unobservable claims  Challenging scientific attitudes  Observable/detectable distinction  Distinction generally rejected  Is anything unobservable?  Significance of social attitudes
  43. 43. EMPIRICAL LIMITS Observability & superstitions How observable are superstitious claims?  Connections between „actions‟ and „events‟  Observable as correlations  Explanations for the connections  The claims hard to observe  Attitudes object to observation  Render superstitious explanations effectively unobservable  „Superempirical‟ rather than supernatural
  44. 44. EMPIRICAL LIMITS Observability and functions Manifest and latent function  Manifest function requires observability  Religious connections unobservable  Latent (social) function more important  In superstitions only explanations unobservable  Scientists aim to make explanations observable  A vital difference
  45. 45. EMPIRICAL LIMITS Agnosticism about explanations Scientific explanations?  Scientists take realist view of explanations  Pursue evidence for their truth  Agnosticism not justified Superstitious explanations  Explanations in practically untestable terms  Testing of explanations discouraged  Agnosticism is not enough Agnosticism about explanations is not scientific
  46. 46. CONCLUSIONS DifferencesSimilarities Methods: Development Methods: Use of of new heuristics heuristics Beliefs: A realist attitude Beliefs: Often hard to to explanations leading to test explanations put pursuit of testing forward
  47. 47. From the above explanations andobservations it is clear that supertitions is one thingthat is related to our own attitude and thoughtsrelated to our enviroment. Thus we have createdsome ideas to make peoples aware of this thing suchthat they will urge the future generation in a correctpath. Thank you for watching our ideas.
  48. 48. THANK YOU!!!!