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Robert N. McCauleyFounding Director, CMBCWilliam Rand Kenan Jr. University Professor


Robert N. McCauley is William Rand Kenan Jr. University Professor of Philosophy and was the Founding Director of the Center for Mind, Brain, and Culture at Emory University (2008-2016).   He earned a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1979. His research examines the philosophy of science (especially the philosophy of psychology and cognitive science), the cognitive science of religion, and naturalized epistemology. He is the author of Why Religion Is Natural and Science Is Not (Oxford University Press, 2011), which explores a variety of startling consequences that follow from a comparison of the cognitive foundations of science and religion.  His most recent book, co-authored with George Graham, is Hearing Voices and Other Matters of the Mind:  What Mental Abnormalities Can Teach Us about Religions (Oxford University Press, 2020).  He has also written Rethinking Religion: Connecting Cognition and Culture (Cambridge University Press, 1990), Bringing Ritual to Mind: Psychological Foundations of Cultural Forms (Cambridge University Press, 2002), and Philosophical Foundations of the Cognitive Science of Religion:  A Head Start (Bloomsbury, 2017) – all with E. Thomas Lawson. He is the editor of The Churchlands and Their Critics (Blackwell Publishers, 1996) and the co-editor with Harvey Whitehouse of Mind and Religion: Cognitive and Psychological Foundations of Religiosity (AltaMira Press, 2005). He has also published more than one hundred articles, chapters, and papers.

Dr. McCauley has received grants or fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Academy of Religion, the Council for Philosophical Studies, and The John Templeton Foundation. In addition to serving on more than a half dozen editorial boards and executive boards of professional societies, he was elected as president of the Society for Philosophy and Psychology for 1997-1998 and as president of the International Association for the Cognitive Science of Religion for 2010-2012.  Dr. McCauley received the Emory Williams Distinguished Teaching Award in 1996 and was recognized for his outstanding teaching in 1997 by the American Philosophical Association.  He was named the inaugural Massee-Martin/National Endowment for the Humanities Distinguished Teaching Professor at Emory (1994-1998), and he served as the Director of the Emory College Center for Teaching and Curriculum from 2001 to 2004. Dr. McCauley is to serve as a Gifford Lecturer at the University of Aberdeen in October 2022 (twice postponed due to the pandemic).  Dr. McCauley writes a blog for Psychology Today entitled Why Religion Is Natural and Science Is Not:  A Naturalist Examines the Cognitive and Cultural Foundations of Religion, Science, and More