From charitable interpretation to active credence



Hora: 14:00 hs. (Arg.)

Modalidad: online

Orador: Paul Harris (University of Harvard)

Young children routinely display a naturalistic understanding of the world. When asked for explanations, they rarely invoke supernatural or religious explanations even when confronted by puzzling or unexpected phenomena. Nevertheless, depending on the surrounding culture, children are eventually prone to accept God as a creator, to believe in the power of prayer and to expect there to be an afterlife. A plausible interpretation of this dual stance is that children adopt two different cognitive routes to understanding: one grounded in empirical observation and in trusted testimony about the observable world. Based on this route, children gradually build up a common-sense understanding of various natural domains, including the physical, the biological and the psychological. The second route is grounded in children’s early emerging ability to engage in shared pretense. As members of a religious community, children will routinely observe community members engage in activities, such as prayer, which cannot be readily understood in terms of their standard, common-sense framework. Nevertheless, children can charitably interpret prayer as special form of communication, directed at an imagined interlocutor. Cumulative exposure to such belief-based activities is likely to encourage children to transition from charitable interpreters of religious activities to participant believers.


The seminar comprises 8 monthly meetings, held via Zoom, spanning from March to November, with an estimated total dedication of 16 hours. For inquiries and registration, interested individuals should contact

It is important to note that the seminar will be conducted in English.