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.
What is superstition ?Superstitions are beliefs that certain things or events will bring good or bad luck.Every culture has superstitions.
LET US SEESOME OF THESUPERSITIONSAROUND OURENVIRONMENT !!
•A dog howling at nightchills the blood – a portentof approaching death.
•Hiccups indicatesomeone is thinking of you.• An itchy eye refers tosomeone maligning you, oryour envy of someone.
A barber shop remainsclosed on Tuesday ashair should not be cuton that day
•Nails should not becut at night for fear ofevil spirits.
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”.
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.
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.
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.
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 !!!
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?
OUTLINE Elements of superstitions Superstition, magic & religion 3 different views of superstition Superstition as science What is the difference? Empirical limits Conclusions
ELEMENTS OF SUPERSTITIONS Superstitious beliefs Superstitious practices The link between them
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
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?
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
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
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
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
3 VIEWS OF SUPERSTITION Superstition as fantasy Superstition as rhetoric Superstition as science
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”
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”
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
SUPERSTITION AS SCIENCE? Question of focus Primitive science Adventitious reinforcement Biased cognitive heuristics
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?
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
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
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?
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
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE? Truth& empirical adequacy Natural vs. supernatural Sacred vs. profane
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‟
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‟
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‟
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
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
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
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
CONCLUSIONS DifferencesSimilarities 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
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.