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For example, Gray et al. Many have argued that homosexuality is harmful, for instance, harmful to families or to society more generally e. But Gray et al. Whereas Gray et al. To cite another topical example, the social media service Facebook recently attracted criticism for allowing users to post graphic footage of beheadings, while prohibiting photos of videos containing nudity including images of breastfeeding in which the baby does not totally obscure the nipple or in which the non-nursing breast is in view; see Clark, A final example concerns moral judgments of suicide, the self-directed nature of which poses an apparent problem for Gray et al.

One might argue that people who commit suicide harm others e. However, a recent study by Rottman, Kelemen, and Young casts doubt on this explanation. Participants read a series of fictitious but ostensibly real obituaries describing suicide or homicide victims, and made a series of ratings including rating the moral wrongness of each death. Whereas perceived harm was the only variable predicting moral judgments of homicide, feelings of disgust and purity concerns—but not harm ratings—predicted moral condemnations of suicide. However, proponents of MFT do not claim that their list of five foundations is exhaustive, but have actively sought out arguments and evidence for others e.

Moral foundations theorists have put forward their own celestial analogy to describe the process of identifying foundations:. There are millions of objects orbiting the sun, but astronomers do not call them all planets. There are six including the Earth that are so visible that they were recorded in multiple ancient civilizations, and then there are a bunch of objects further out that were discovered with telescopes.

Astronomers disagreed for a while as to whether Pluto and some more distant icy bodies should be considered planets. Similarly, we are content to say that there are many aspects of human nature that contribute to and constrain moral judgment, and our task is to identify the most important ones. Graham et al. Using the fairness foundation for illustration, Graham et al. First, the relevant moral concern must feature regularly in third-party normative judgments, wherein people express condemnation for actions that have no direct consequences for them.

Fairness certainly satisfies this requirement—as Graham and colleagues note, gossip about group members who violate fairness norms e. Second, violations of the moral principle in question must elicit rapid, automatic, affectively valenced evaluations. LoBue, Nishida, Chiong, DeLoache, and Haidt found that children as young as 3 years old reacted rapidly and negatively to unequal distributions of stickers, particularly personally disadvantageous distributions. For Graham et al. Their last three criteria relate to foundationhood per se.

First, foundational moral concerns should be culturally widespread. According to Graham et al. Second, there should be indicators of innate preparedness for foundational concerns. Moreover, developmental studies show that young infants are sensitive to inequity. For example, Sloane, Baillargeon, and Premack found that month-old children expected an experimenter to reward each of two individuals when both had worked at an assigned task, but not when one of the individuals had done all the work. Baumard, Mascaro, and Chevallier found that 3- and 4-year-old children were able to take merit into account by distributing tokens according to individual contributions.

Finally, an evolutionary model should clearly specify the adaptive advantage conferred by the candidate foundation upon individuals who bore it in the ancestral past as Graham et al. Fairness meets this criterion nicely. Although Saroglou provides a valuable synthesis of previous taxonomies of core religious dimensions, in our view, the dimensions he settles on Believing, Bonding, Behaving, Belonging do not correspond well to evolved cognitive systems, so are not good candidates for religious foundations.

There are at least two important and potentially dissociable supernatural concepts here: the notion of supernatural agency , on the one hand e. These consequences may be mediated by supernatural agents, as when gods bestow rewards or dispense punishments in this life or the next; but they may also reflect the impersonal unfolding of a cosmic principle e. Moreover, supernatural agents are not necessarily in the business of attending to our behaviors and implementing relevant consequences—as we shall review, gods vary in their concerns with human affairs in general and with moral issues more specifically.

In view of these various considerations, one could posit not one but two distinct dimensions of supernatural belief here: a supernatural agency, and b supernatural justice. Rather than take this route, our preference is to specify a small subset of evolved cognitive systems that, jointly or in isolation, would account for why these dimensions are cross-culturally and historically recurrent. Here we discuss five strong candidates for religious foundationhood: a a system specialized for the detection of agents ; b a system devoted to representing, inferring, and predicting the mental states of intentional agents; c a system geared toward producing teleofunctional explanations of objects and events; d a system specialized for affiliating with groups through the imitation of causally opaque action sequences; and e a system specialized for the detection of genetic kinship.

Like proponents of MFT, we do not claim that this list is exhaustive, and future research may suggest alternative, or additional, candidates when relevant, we discuss current alternate views. Nevertheless, based on an extensive review of the cognitive science of religion literature, the following represent the most plausible candidates for universal religious foundations, on current evidence.

This logic has been used to undergird an influential claim in the cognitive science of religion. Guthrie has argued that for humans in the ancestral past, mistaking an agent e. Humans should therefore be equipped by natural selection with biased agency-detection mechanisms—what J. HADDs are often described as perceptual mechanisms, devices biased toward the perception of agents in ambiguous stimulus configurations.

A by-product of their functioning would be a tendency toward false positives e. A broader conception of HADDs includes attributions of nonrandom structure Bloom, —such as naturally occurring patterns and events with no clear physical cause—to the activity of agents. In other words, HADDs are a suite of hypothetical devices specialized for perceiving either agents or their effects. Such notions, once posited, would be attention grabbing, memorable, and thus highly transmissible because of their resonance with intuitive cognitive structures such as HADDs J.

Barrett, ; J. Indeed, just as the cultural success of high-heeled shoes may owe to the fact that they function as supernormal stimuli insofar as they exaggerate sex specific aspects of female gait; Morris et al. At present, the evidence for a connection between supernatural concepts and beliefs and agency cognition is mixed.

Meanwhile Riekki, Lindeman, Aleneff, Halme, and Nuortimo found that religious believers showed more of a bias than nonbelievers to indicate that photographs of inanimate scenes e. In all of these studies, agency detection was a measured variable. As far as we are aware, to date, no published study has investigated whether manipulating cues of agency e. Given the hypothesized causal route whereby agency detection biases predispose humans to acquire beliefs in religious concepts , this may be a fruitful avenue for future research.

For example, functional MRI experiments with religious participants have shown that religious belief Kapogiannis et al. Finally, Norenzayan, Gervais, and Trzesniewski found that autistic participants expressed less belief in God than did matched neurotypical controls. In follow-up studies using nonclinical samples, these authors found that higher autism scores predicted lower belief in God, a relationship mediated by mentalizing abilities. ToM is also thought to play an important role in afterlife beliefs.

It has been suggested, for example, that people spontaneously infer that dead relatives and friends are still present, even in the absence of cultural inputs to support such ideas. The idea is that although we can simulate the loss of perceptual capacities like sight and hearing simply by covering the relevant organs the eyes and the ears , we cannot simulate the absence of thoughts, desires, memories, and so on.

Even people who hold explicitly extinctivist beliefs e. The root of this, Bering argues, is that humans have dedicated cognitive machinery for reasoning about mental states, which, unlike our capacities for reasoning about the mechanical and biological properties of bodies, cannot conceptualize total system failure. For example, participants should be unable to fully appreciate that people lack conscious experiences when under general anesthesia, or that inanimate objects such as carpets and kitchen utensils lack such experiences. Although we think this is implausible, it is an empirical question whether continuity judgments can be elicited in such scenarios.

We note in this connection that recent research on pre life beliefs in Ecuadorian children indicates that, until about 9 to 10 years of age, they ascribe several biological and psychological capacities to their prelife selves; moreover, older children, who ascribe fewer capacities to themselves overall, are still more likely to ascribe certain mental states—in particular, emotional and desire states—to their prelife selves than other mental states e.

Another foundational cognitive predisposition where religion is concerned may be a tendency to favor teleofunctional reasoning. Research by Kelemen and colleagues e. Although it may be tempting to think that this teleological bias is attributable simply to acquisition of a creationist worldview e. If so, this tendency may render notions of intelligent supernatural designers, who have created the world and everything in it for a purpose, especially compelling Kelemen, To the extent that this relational-deictic stance represents a cognitive default, however, it may still serve as a strong foundation for religious cultural notions.

In particular, although we agree with Ojalehto et al. Humans often imitate each other without knowing why—that is, with little or no understanding of how the actions contribute to goals. Causal opacity of this kind is a hallmark feature of ritualized behavior. In rituals, the relationship between actions and stated goals if indeed they are stated at all cannot, even in principle , be specified in physical—causal terms P. Social anthropologists have often observed that ritual participants are powerless to explain why they carry out their distinctive procedures and ceremonies, appealing only to tradition or the ancestors.

Imitation of causally opaque behavior is a distinctively human trait. None of the other great apes shows a marked interest in devising highly stylized procedures and bodily adornments and using these to demarcate and affiliate with cultural groups. Because rituals lack overt usefulness, most animals would not see any value in copying them.

Biblical Series I: Introduction to the Idea of God

Yet by meticulously conforming to arbitrary social conventions, human groups bind themselves together into cooperative units facilitating cooperation on a scale that is very rare in nature. From an evolutionary perspective, deriving the benefits of group living requires a means of identifying ingroup members the ones you should cooperate with and out-groups people you should avoid or compete with. One solution is to have a distinctive set of group conventions or rituals of course, there are other means too, e.

Indeed, the willingness to copy arbitrary conventions is essential for acquiring language requiring us to accept that arbitrary utterances refer to stable features of the world around us, not because there is a causal relationship between the sound and the thing it refers to, but simply because that is the accepted convention. Herrmann et al. Inclusive fitness theory predicts that organisms will behave in ways that preferentially benefit kin, with more benefits conferred as the degree of genetic relatedness between the actor and the recipient increases Hamilton, Mechanisms for recognizing and calibrating kinship are critical for such behaviors to evolve and can be classified as one of two broad types: those that exploit direct, phenotypic cues e.

According to Lieberman, Tooby, and Cosmides , cues indicative of kinship are taken as input by two separate motivational systems. As Pinker points out, kin recognition in humans depends on cues in particular, linguistic cues that others can manipulate:. Thus people are also altruistic toward their adoptive relatives, and toward a variety of fictive kin such as brothers in arms, fraternities and sororities, occupational and religious brotherhoods, crime families, fatherlands, and mother countries.

These faux families may be created by metaphors, simulacra of family experiences, myths of common descent or common flesh, and other illusions of kinship. Cultural manipulations of kinship detection machinery may be rife in ritualistic behavior. As Saroglou notes, religious rituals serve to bond ritual participants together.

Such rituals may accomplish this, in part, by incorporating a range of kinship cues. First, many religious rituals involve artificial phenotypic cues of kinship—similar costumes, headdress, face paint, and so forth. Second, social synchrony is a key feature of many religious rituals, and has long been hypothesized to promote group cohesion e. Recent experimental studies confirm that synchronic movement increases cooperation among participants. For example, Wiltermuth and Heath found that participants who engaged in synchronic behaviors e.

Third, the arousal that many rituals generate may function as a contextual cue to kinship. Xygalatas et al. High-ordeal participants donated significantly more than low-ordeal participants, and higher levels of self-reported pain were associated with greater donations. A key feature of our approach is to consider whether the fractionated components of morality and religion have overlapping evolutionary histories. As noted earlier, just as there are genetically endowed physical structures e. Our fractionating strategy produces a preliminary matrix of at least 25 basic questions at the level of biological evolution e.

In our view, the most plausible cases of biologically evolved connections between the religious and moral foundations involve agency-detection mechanisms and ToM. Likewise, if the limitations of our evolved capacities to simulate mental states, or the absence of such states , triggered intuitions about the continued invisible presence of dead individuals, this would have been incidental. However, D. Johnson, Bering, and colleagues e. Johnson, ; D. The supposition of moral-foundations theorists is that the various foundations evolved to solve a range of adaptive problems e.

The evolution of these various mechanisms would have occasioned a novel set of selection pressures—in particular, the costs associated with being caught violating foundational moral principles. According to D. Johnson, Bering, and colleagues, the evolution of linguistic and mentalizing capacities would have ramped up these costs, as moral transgressions could be reported to absent third parties, exacerbating reputational damage for the transgressor. The conjunction of these various mechanisms, therefore, may have increased the premium on mechanisms that inhibit moral transgressions.

Johnson, , p. The notion that humans have a genetically endowed propensity to postulate moralizing, punitive supernatural observers is both compelling and controversial. If intuitions about punitive supernatural observers are a biological mechanism for inhibiting moral transgressions, we should expect activation of these intuitions to have the relevant inhibitory effect.

In the next section, we review the evidence for this hypothesis. Surveys indicate that people who score higher on indices of religiosity e. This would render religious individuals more susceptible to social desirability concerns, to which self-report measures of socially desirable behaviors are notoriously vulnerable Paulhus, Some studies have found that a link between self-reported religiosity and self-reported altruism remains even when social desirability concerns are measured and controlled for e.

One limitation of some of these behavioral studies, from a pluralistic moral perspective, is that competing moral motivations are sometimes conflated. For example, given the effect of religious priming on dictator game allocations, one might conclude that such priming activates the care foundation, promoting moral concerns for the well-being of others.

An alternative possibility, however, is that the increased giving in the dictator game reflects the activation of the fairness foundation. This might be seen as compelling evidence that fairness concerns were paramount here. However, although the modal response was to transfer half of the money, some participants in the religious prime condition transferred more than half—strictly speaking, an unfair allocation.

A similar issue arises when considering the study of Pichon et al. These authors found that participants primed with positive religion words e. One might conclude that religious priming or, at least, positive religious priming had activated compassion for the disadvantaged. Notwithstanding these interpretive complexities, the results of religious priming studies, taken together, would seem to indicate that religious priming promotes adherence to moral norms.

Nevertheless, the picture may be more complicated than this, as other studies have shown that religious priming also elicits a range of aggressive and prejudicial behaviors. Saroglou, Corneille, and Van Cappellen found that religiously primed participants encouraged by the experimenter to exact revenge on an individual who had allegedly criticized them were more vengeful than those given neutral primes.

Van Pachterbeke, Freyer, and Saroglou found that religiously primed participants displayed support for impersonal societal norms even when upholding such norms would harm individuals the effects reported by Saroglou et al. And Ginges et al. One might suppose that the effects of such priming on aggression and prejudice count against the hypothesis that intuitions about supernatural observers inhibit moral norm violations.

But without knowing what participants perceive as the relevant norm, this is difficult to establish. For example, in the Bushman et al. There are other reasons to doubt that religious priming studies demonstrate that activating intuitions about punitive supernatural agents curbs moral infractions. The effect of the secular primes, they suggest, is more consistent with the behavioral priming explanation.

Similar considerations apply to a study by Mazar et al. More recently, Ma-Kellams and Blascovich found that even primes of science e. It remains to be demonstrated, however, that the perception that one is observed is what mediates the effect of the primes on behavior. It is possible that religious priming might activate both surveillance concerns and moral concepts, but that only the latter influence game behavior. Earlier we mentioned methods that potentially conflate distinct moral motivations e. Jesus preached the latter e. If supernatural primes activate concerns for fairness, then primed participants should be more likely to punish violations of fairness norms.

If, on the other hand, such primes stimulate kindness, then participants may be less likely to engage in such punishment. We found that religious primes strongly increased the costly punishment of unfair behaviors for a subset of our participants—those who had previously donated to a religious organization. This finding seems consistent with the notion that supernatural agency concepts promote fairness and its enforcement, although, as this study did not disambiguate agency and moral dimensions along the lines suggested earlier, it may be that the effect here was a result of behavioral priming of moral behavior in this case, punishment of unfair behavior rather than activation of supernatural agent concepts.

Another problem is that different idiosyncratic conceptions of God e. When possible, therefore, priming studies should attempt to measure idiosyncratic conceptions of God e. Overall, we think that religious priming studies provide at least tentative evidence that activating intuitions about supernatural agents curbs moral norm violations. But what of the intuitions themselves? If intuitions about such supernatural punishers are properly foundational , they should be culturally and historically widespread. However, Baumard and Boyer a note that the gods of numerous classical traditions e.

Although these considerations may seem to refute any suggestion that moralizing, punitive supernatural agents are historically and cross-culturally universal, recent work suggests that even when gods are not explicitly represented as caring about human morality, there is nevertheless a moral undercurrent beneath the surface of such explicit, reflective representations Purzycki, In any case, as Graham et al. Cultural influences may restrict the expression of innate cognitive tendencies, just as they can restrict the expression of innate physical propensities e.

However, Graham and colleagues also note that not all cultures are equally informative when it comes to establishing foundationhood. For example, the Hadza of northern Tanzania and the! Kung of the Kalahari Desert are contemporary hunter—gatherer societies with gods who take little interest in human wrongdoing Norenzayan, In our judgment, therefore, it is unlikely that our evolved cognitive systems produce stable intuitions about omnipresent supernatural punishers.

What we think more plausible is that we have a genetically endowed sensitivity to situational cues that our behavior is being observed. A burgeoning literature indicates that even very subtle cues of surveillance influence adherence to prevailing moral norms. In contrast to these studies, Raihani and Bshary found that dictators donated less money in the presence of eye images. However, these authors only analyzed mean donations, and not the probability of donating something however small.

Nettle et al. Bateson, Nettle, and colleagues have found similar effects using an image of a pair of eyes on a notice in naturalistic settings. Bateson, Nettle, and Roberts found that, compared with images of flowers, eye images substantially increased the level of contributions to an honesty box in a psychology department tea room; and Ernest-Jones, Nettle, and Bateson found that similar images halved the odds of littering in a university cafeteria. Bourrat, Baumard, and McKay found that such images led to greater condemnation of moral infractions. Relatedly, Cavrak and Kleider-Offutt recently found that participants exposed to religious images associated with a prominent supernatural agent e.

Finally, there is evidence that experimental cues of anonymity rather than of surveillance e. The upshot of all this work is that evolved agency-detection mechanisms may serve to deliver intuitions about observing agents and to regulate our behavior in the presence of those agents. We doubt, however, that such mechanisms deliver intuitions about moralizing, punitive supernatural agents—instead, we think that the relevant intuitions are more basic just concerning the presence of agency per se.

And drawing on intuitions about fairness and the psychological characteristics of intentional agents ToM , such supernatural watcher concepts may morph into more complex, compelling, and culturally transmissible notions of moralizing gods—notions which, when made salient or activated as in priming studies , serve to promote adherence to the perceived norms of those gods. What this highlights is that we can often make no principled distinction between religion and morality at the level of culture or cognition.

Our aim here has been to pinpoint some of the major features in the religious and moral constellations. Recall the analogy drawn earlier between the properties of a hands and gloves, and b evolved cognitive systems and explicit cultural representations. Whereas hands are biologically evolved features of human anatomy, gloves are culturally evolved artifacts that must follow the contours of the hand at least to some extent in order to be wearable.

In this section, we ask whether, in a similar fashion, culturally evolved belief systems must follow the contours of our evolved cognitive systems. Moreover, from the perspective of our concern with the religion—morality relationship, do cultural systems create durable connections between the moral and religious foundations depicted in Figure 2? In posing these particular questions, we do not mean to suggest that the direction of causality must always run from religion to morality. In considering these questions, one might seek to supplement the examples in Figure 2 with further examples plucked from the ethnographic record.

Although time-consuming, such an exercise would undoubtedly be instructive in many ways. It would indicate, for example, whether—and how—cultural systems from diverse regions of the world are capable of connecting moral and religious foundations in a variety of ways. It would not, however, address the deeper question of why they do so. Established in the early s and spreading to encompass scores of villages in some of the more remote regions of the island, the movement has a centralized leadership, based at a large coastal settlement, from which regular patrols to outlying villages are sent, bringing news, collecting taxes, and policing the orthodoxy.

The mainstream Kivung exhibits all the fractionated elements of our intuitive religious repertoire: hyperactive agency detection, ToM, teleofunctional reasoning, the ritual stance, and group psychology. And it connects each of these elements to our five moral foundations care, fairness, loyalty, respect, and purity. At the heart of Kivung teachings is the idea that the ancestors of followers will someday soon return from the dead, bringing with them all the wonders of Western technology. Until that day, however, the ancestors exist only as bodiless agents, discernible by the sounds they make and the traces they leave behind.

Failures to observe the laws of the Kivung are said to delay the miracle of returning ancestors. Only when a certain moral threshold has been achieved will the living and the dead be reunited. This dogma connects with all our moral foundations because the Kivung laws, adapted from the Ten Commandments as taught by Catholic missionaries in the region, forbid such a broad range of transgressions as violence and slander harming , cheating and stealing fairness , criticizing the Kivung loyalty , disobedience respect , and cooking during menses purity. Kivung ideas about ancestors not only link up our moral foundations but also weave intricate connections through discourse and ritual between each of our religious foundations.

For example, among the many rituals observed by Kivung followers is the daily laying out of food offerings to the ancestors. Great attention is paid to the noises of ancestors entering the temple e. This simple ritual requires intense concentration, as it is said that if the ancestors detect insincerity telepathically , they will withhold their forgiveness. Teleofunctional reasoning meanwhile is a pervasive feature of Kivung origin myths and various rituals associated with the sacred gardens one of which memorializes a Melanesian Eden.

And lastly, the Kivung activates group psychology by creating familial ties based on shared ritual experiences and coalitional bonds via us—them thinking in relation to external detractors and critics. In the end, however, it constitutes a question about how , rather than why , cultural systems create connections between moral and religious foundations. To address the why, we need to consider issues of function and ultimate causation. Two contrasting positions on the why of the morality—religion relationship in cultural evolution have achieved some prominence in recent years. One takes the form of adaptationist arguments concerning the emergence and spread of routinized rituals and moralizing gods.

The other argues that all cultural traditions, however they trace or fail to trace the connections between moral and religious foundations, are by-products of cognitive predispositions and biases, rather than cultural adaptations that enhance the fitness of individuals or groups.


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We briefly review these alternative positions and consider what evidence would be required to adjudicate satisfactorily between the two. Scholars in the cognitive science of religion tend to agree that many globally and historically recurrent features of religious thinking and behavior are by-products of cognitive machinery that evolved for reasons that have nothing to do with religion e. Barrett, ; Bloom, ; Boyer, For example, HADDs are thought to have evolved to help support the detection of predators and prey. If they also undergirded intuitions about the presence of bodiless agents, then this was originally a side effect by-product of their main function J.

Barrett, , , To express this in terms of our body—clothing analogy, if HADDs were equivalent to the evolved anatomy of the hand, then the accumulated cultural knowledge of expert trackers and hunters would be equivalent to the protective functions of gloves, essential for survival in very cold climates. But gloves can also have decorative frills, like bobbles and tassels, which have no particular survival value.

Cultural representations concerning bodiless agents would be decorative frills of this kind. As such, these kinds of functionally superfluous additions need not follow the contour of the hand at all—and might derive their popular appeal precisely from the fact that they do not. Conceivably, the cultural success of certain Christian ideals e. What distinguishes the adaptationist perspective on religion, however, is the view that at least some of these religious by-products became useful for the survival of individuals and groups in the course of cultural evolution.

Most commonly, this argument has been applied to the growth of large-scale societies. Humans evolved to live in face-to-face bands of hunter—gatherers rather than in vast empires or nations. Small group psychology, it has been argued, would have been insufficient to handle many of the challenges of large group living.

Religion provided cultural adaptations to support the transition from foraging to farming, from local community to state formation. One line of adaptationist thinking has focused on the role of ritual frequency in this transition Whitehouse, We consider each of these approaches in turn. One of the major challenges in understanding how and why religion changes as societies become larger and more complex relates to the changing structure and function of ritual.

As conditions permitted an escalation of the scale and complexity of human societies, cultural evolutionary processes may have further tuned the elements of ritual, promoting social cohesion. With the evolution of social complexity, religious rituals become more routinized, dysphoric rituals become less widespread, doctrine and narrative becomes more standardized, beliefs become more universalistic, religion becomes more hierarchical, offices more professionalized, sacred texts help to codify and legitimate emergent orthodoxies, and religious guilds increasingly monopolize resources Whitehouse, , Some of these patterns have recently been documented quantitatively using large samples of religious traditions from the ethnographic record.

Instead, the much more frequent rituals typical of regional and world religions sustain forms of group identification better suited to the kinds of collective action problems presented by interactions among strangers or socially more distant individuals Whitehouse, As rituals become more routinized, however, they also become less stimulating emotionally, and perhaps even more tedious Whitehouse, As some societies became ever larger and more complex, even the processes described here may not have been sufficient to sustain cooperation and a host of new cultural adaptations—most notably, forms of external information storage and secular institutions of governance—became increasingly important Mullins et al.

With the emergence of agriculture and larger, more complex social formations, strangers or relative strangers needed to be able to assess their respective reputational statuses when biographical information was not readily available. The signaling theory of religion and ritual has been recently extended by the theory of credibility enhancing displays CREDS; Henrich, By engaging in costly behaviors, rather than merely advocating such behavior in others i. This is thought to facilitate the spread of moral norms across large populations and safeguard their transmission across the generations.

CREDS theory seeks to explain not only the wide distribution of moral norms in the so-called ethical religions but also the prevalence of moral exemplars in such traditions e. One of the most vigorous debates in the recent literature on religion and morality has concerned the cultural prevalence of moralizing gods—powerful supernatural agents who monitor behavior and punish moral infractions.

Ara Norenzayan and colleagues e. In small-scale and traditional societies in which everybody knows everyone else and most social behavior is easily observed and reported, transgressions are easily detected. Modern technologies of surveillance, such as police cameras, identity cards, and computer records, allow increasingly extensive monitoring of thieves, cheats, defectors, and free riders by designated authorities. Norenzayan et al. In contrast, Baumard and Boyer a argue incisively that the cultural prevalence of moralizing god representations does not result from the fact that such representations promote socially cohesive behaviors among human groups.

Volume 51-55: Abstracts

Instead, these representations are successful because they have features e. In short, moralizing gods are cultural variants with effects that enhance their own success and so are adaptive in that sense; Dennett, , but these effects do not include changes in the biological or cultural fitness of their human vectors. How are we to evaluate these opposing views? One feature of Norenzayan et al. As we have seen, a wealth of evidence from priming studies indicates that the activation of supernatural concepts can promote adherence to moral norms.

Do the latter studies undermine the hypothesis of Norenzayan and colleagues? On the contrary, they may be aggressive, murderous, and even genocidal. It is less clear that these findings are consistent with Baumard and Boyer a. The latter authors claim that the success of moralizing god concepts is entirely a result of the resonance of these concepts with the output of intuitive systems, so their theory does not require that these concepts have any effects whatsoever on behavior.

Any such effects are incidental and superfluous from their perspective. They then converted to Christianity, a moralizing religion, and were promptly crushed by barbarians with tribal, nonmoralizing gods. As they acknowledge, however, the gods of antiquity were represented as monitoring the appropriate performance of rituals. To the extent that rituals represent or promote moral behaviors see earlier , therefore, gods that care about rituals care about morality, directly or indirectly. We note in this connection that common components of ritual performance may facilitate parochially altruistic behaviors, including aggression e.

The relationship between religion and morality is a deep and emotive topic. The confident pronouncements of public commentators belie the bewildering theoretical and methodological complexity of the issues. In the scholarly sphere, progress is frequently impeded by a series of prevailing conceptual limitations and lacunae. We have set out an encompassing evolutionary framework within which to situate and evaluate relevant evidence. Our view is that cultural representations—concepts, dogmas, artefacts, and practices both prescribed and proscribed—are triggered, shaped, and constrained by a variety of foundational cognitive systems.

We have sought to identify the most currently plausible conjectures about biologically evolved connections between these systems, and have reviewed and evaluated the most prominent published debates in the cultural evolutionary domain. Ultimately, we see and foresee no pithily characterizable relationship between religion and morality.

Second, under the pluralistic approach we advocate, which fractionates both religion and morality and distinguishes cognition from culture, the relationship between religion and morality expands into a matrix of separate relationships between fractionated elements. Although we eschew a simplistic story, we live in a very exciting time for psychological research on this topic.

The aim should be to settle upon a parsimonious set of culturally and historically widespread cognitive predispositions that exhibit developmental and comparative evidence of innate preparedness, and that jointly account for the great bulk of culturally distributed items falling under the umbrella of religion and morality. On the one hand, morality may require God in the sense that the very notion of morality is incoherent without God i. This is what Socrates had in mind and disputed.

On the other hand, morality may require God in the sense that belief in God is needed to enforce moral behavior. This is what Dostoevsky meant. Cohen and colleagues e. Cohen, ; A. Some religions e. The point that scientific research on religion should consider all four whys has been eloquently made by Hinde and informs his writings on religion more generally e. This lesson is particularly important when considering evidence germane to the religion—morality debate. Although they found a positive relationship between intensity of religiosity and altruism in the dictator game, they acknowledged that the causality of this relationship could have run from altruism to religiosity, or that unobserved third variables may have influenced both altruism and religiosity.

The second player has a completely passive role which is why the dictator game is not, strictly speaking, a game and must accept whatever the first player transfers. In a public goods game, players privately choose how much of an endowment to donate to a public pot. For example, punishment of unfairness has been associated both with self-control e. At present, there is no official moral foundation of self-control. And thanks to God for it. Hadnes and Schumacher found that priming West African villagers with traditional beliefs substantially increased trustworthy behavior in an economic trust game.

Aveyard tested a sample of Middle Eastern Muslim undergraduates and found that whereas a laboratory priming manipulation had no effect on their cheating rates, participants exposed to a naturalistic religious prime—the Islamic call to prayer—cheated substantially less. Johnson, The database contains quantitative variables describing numerous characteristics of the societies in the sample. National Center for Biotechnology Information , U.

Psychological Bulletin. Psychol Bull. Published online Dec Author information Article notes Copyright and License information Disclaimer. Corresponding author. Copyright for this article is retained by the author s. Author s grant s the American Psychological Association the exclusive right to publish the article and identify itself as the original publisher. This article has been cited by other articles in PMC. Abstract The relationship between religion and morality has long been hotly debated. Keywords: cognitive science of religion, moral foundations theory, prosocial behavior, cultural evolution.

It is simply impossible for people to be moral without religion or God. Open in a separate window. Figure 1. Conceptual Lacunae and Confusions in the Religion and Morality Debate Despite the confident claims of many contemporary commentators, we believe the relationship between religion and morality is poorly understood. Astrologizing History can be written at any magnification.

Descriptive Ethnocentrism If moral psychology is to contribute to the psychology of religion, it will have to describe a moral domain as expansive as that of the Gods. Sanitized Conceptions of Morality and Prosociality Ingroup generosity and outgroup derogation actually represent two sides of the same coin. Cognitive Versus Cultural Levels of Explanation Efforts to fully characterize the relationship between religion and morality are limited by a tendency for researchers to conceptualize morality or religion as bundles of either cognitively or culturally evolved traits rather than both.

Religion and Morality: A New Approach In order to circumvent these limitations and avoid these problems, we propose a new approach to the religion—morality debate that not only fractionates both religion and morality but is careful to distinguish the different levels at which explanation is required. Figure 2. Moral foundations theorists have put forward their own celestial analogy to describe the process of identifying foundations: There are millions of objects orbiting the sun, but astronomers do not call them all planets.

Fractionating Religion: Religious Foundations? Teleofunctional Explanations Another foundational cognitive predisposition where religion is concerned may be a tendency to favor teleofunctional reasoning. Kinship Detection Inclusive fitness theory predicts that organisms will behave in ways that preferentially benefit kin, with more benefits conferred as the degree of genetic relatedness between the actor and the recipient increases Hamilton, As Pinker points out, kin recognition in humans depends on cues in particular, linguistic cues that others can manipulate: Thus people are also altruistic toward their adoptive relatives, and toward a variety of fictive kin such as brothers in arms, fraternities and sororities, occupational and religious brotherhoods, crime families, fatherlands, and mother countries.

The Religion—Morality Relationship in Biological Evolution A key feature of our approach is to consider whether the fractionated components of morality and religion have overlapping evolutionary histories. Supernatural Agent Intuitions and Morality Surveys indicate that people who score higher on indices of religiosity e. The Cross-Cultural Prevalence of Supernatural Punishment Concepts If intuitions about such supernatural punishers are properly foundational , they should be culturally and historically widespread.

The Religion—Morality Relationship in Cultural Evolution Recall the analogy drawn earlier between the properties of a hands and gloves, and b evolved cognitive systems and explicit cultural representations. Adaptationist and By-Product Accounts Two contrasting positions on the why of the morality—religion relationship in cultural evolution have achieved some prominence in recent years.

Routinization One of the major challenges in understanding how and why religion changes as societies become larger and more complex relates to the changing structure and function of ritual. Conclusion The relationship between religion and morality is a deep and emotive topic. Footnotes 1 Here we conflate two different senses in which morality may require God. References Ahmed A. The effect of subtle religious representations on cooperation. International Journal of Social Economics , 38 , — The Journal of Socio-Economics , 40 , — Hollander R. Anthropological conceptions of religion: Reflections on Geertz.

Man n. Understanding mortality and the life of the ancestors in rural Madagascar. Cognitive Science , 32 , — The cultural morphospace of ritual form: Examining modes of religiosity cross-culturally. Evolution and Human Behavior , 32 , 50—62 In gods we trust: The evolutionary landscape of religion.

The evolution of religion: How cognitive by-products, adaptive learning heuristics, ritual displays, and group competition generate deep commitments to prosocial religion. Biological Theory , 5 , 18— Behavioral and Brain Sciences , 27 , — A call to honesty: Extending religious priming of moral behavior to Middle Eastern Muslims. On the social nature of eyes: The effect of social cues in interaction and individual choice tasks. Evolution and Human Behavior , 34 , — Mindblindness: An essay on autism and theory of mind.

Exploring the natural foundations of religion. Trends in Cognitive Sciences , 4 , 29—34 Why would anyone believe in God? Why Santa Claus is not a god. Journal of Cognition and Culture , 8 , — The science of religious beliefs. Religion , 38 , — Taking note of Tinbergen, or: The promise of a biology of behaviour.

Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences , , A latent capacity for evolutionary innovation through exaptation in metabolic systems. Nature , , — Cues of being watched enhance cooperation in a real-world setting. Biology Letters , 2 , — Altruism and prosocial behavior In Millon T.

Hoboken, NJ: Wiley. Religion and the individual: A social-psychological perspective. A mutualistic approach to morality: The evolution of fairness by partner choice. Behavioral and Brain Sciences , 36 , 59—78 Explaining moral religions. Trends in Cognitive Sciences , 17 , — Religious beliefs as reflective elaborations on intuitions: A modified dual-process model.

Current Directions in Psychological Science , 22 , — Advance online publication Preschoolers are able to take merit into account when distributing goods. Developmental Psychology , 48 , — Virtue, personality, and social relations: Self-control as the moral muscle. Journal of Personality , 67 , — Journal of Cognition and Culture , 2 , — The folk psychology of souls. Behavioral and Brain Sciences , 29 , — The natural emergence of reasoning about the afterlife as a developmental regularity.

Developmental Psychology , 40 , — The development of afterlife beliefs in religiously and secularly schooled children. British Journal of Developmental Psychology , 23 , — Journal of Cognition and Culture , 5 , — Reasoning about dead agents reveals possible adaptive trends. Human Nature , 16 , — The proper study of mankind: An anthology of essays. London, UK: Vintage Classics.

Parochial altruism in humans. The costs of human inbreeding and their implications for variations at the DNA level. Nature Genetics , 8 , — Signaling theory, strategic interaction, and symbolic capital. Current Anthropology , 46 , — Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion , 52 , — International Journal for the Psychology of Religion , 23 , — Religion is natural.

Developmental Science , 10 , — Does religion make you nice? Religious belief as an evolutionary accident In Schloss J. Religion, morality, evolution. Annual Review of Psychology , 63 , — A biocultural evolutionary exploration of supernatural sanctioning In Bulbulia J. Surveillance cues enhance moral condemnation. Evolutionary Psychology , 9 , — Did warfare among ancestral hunter-gatherers affect the evolution of human social behaviors? Science , , — Religion explained: The evolutionary origins of religious thought. London, UK: Random House.

Religious prosociality? Experimental evidence from a sample of Spaniards. Who really cares? The surprising truth about compassionate conservatism. Monkeys reject unequal pay. A cross-species perspective on the selfishness axiom. Behavioral and Brain Sciences , 28 , Grand Rapids, MI: Revell. Meme infection or religious niche construction? An adaptationist alternative to the cultural maladaptationist hypothesis.

Wilson D. The cultural evolution of religion In Richerson P. Engineering human cooperation: Does involuntary neural activation increase public goods contributions? Human Nature , 18 , 88— When god sanctions killing: Effect of scriptural violence on aggression. Psychological Science , 18 , — Copying results and copying actions in the process of social learning: Chimpanzees Pan troglodytes and human children Homo sapiens.

Animal Cognition , 8 , — An examination of religious priming and intrinsic religious motivation in the moral hypocrisy paradigm.

Historiography

Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion , 48 , — Developmental continuity in teleo-functional explanation: Reasoning about nature among Romanian Romani adults. Journal of Cognition and Development , 9 , — Pictures are worth a thousand words and a moral decision or two: Religious symbols prime moral judgments. The International Journal for the Psychology of Religion. The coevolution of parochial altruism and war. Religion, likelihood of action, and the morality of mentality.

International Journal for the Psychology of Religion , 13 , — Religion and the morality of positive mentality. Basic and Applied Social Psychology , 26 , 45—57 Religion and the morality of mentality. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology , 81 , — Conceptualizing spirit possession: Ethnographic and experimental evidence. Ethos , 36 , — Cognitive Neuropsychology , 1 , 1—8 Delusional belief. Annual Review of Psychology , 62 , — Impulsive choice and altruistic punishment are correlated and increase in tandem with serotonin depletion. Emotion , 10 , — Europe: A history. London, UK: Pimlico.

The God delusion. London, UK: Transworld. Opposite-sex siblings decrease attraction, but not prosocial attributions, to self-resembling opposite-sex faces. Feith S. The neuropeptide oxytocin regulates parochial altruism in intergroup conflict among humans. London, UK: Penguin. The bright stuff.


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New York Times , p. Breaking the spell: Religion as a natural phenomenon. New York, NY: Viking. The brothers Karamazov Pevear R. The elementary forms of the religious life Swain J. Human cognitive neuropsychology. Hove, UK: Erlbaum. Stielow Some studies of the field distinguish between professional publications and research articles, such as that of Tuomaala et al. Even if studies are limited to research articles, it has been questioned whether the literature qualifies as research. Turcios et al. The status of LIS as a science has been discussed for many years.

Librarian and researcher Carl S. Petersen wrote: Library technique is a common term for the methods used for organizing, cataloging, use, and administration etc. Despite various trends towards merging the two fields, some consider library science and information science to be separate fields or disciplines, for example Miksa and Saracevic Huang and Chang , wrote:. In general, however, the tendency today is to use the terms information science and library and information science as synonyms [9].

However, in order to speak of library science as an organized activity, we must go further forward in history. The term Bibliothek-Wissenschaft was used for the first time in the title of a German textbook Schrettinger , the first issue of which was published in Martin Schrettinger — , Friedrich Adolf Ebert — and Karl Dziatzko — were the founders of library science in Germany. Weigel in the period — Although this particular school ran into difficulties, possibly because women were thereby allowed access to academia, Dewey was able to transfer the school to the New York State Library in Albany in ; since then, many library schools have been founded in the United States and Canada and around the world.

Richardson describes aspects of the early history of library science in the United States. For both the European and the American schools, it has been discussed whether the term science is misplaced. Miksa , found, however: Early library education, including Melvil Dewey's School of Library Economy at Columbia College, has traditionally been thought to have emphasized vocational-technical skills rather than substantive intellectual issues. New evidence for the first two lecture sessions of Dewey's school raises questions about that view.

The schedule of the school, its faculty including regular Columbia College professors , and the way the school's topical content of library economy and bibliography was approached strongly suggest an educational venture with unexpected intellectual substance. More evidence is needed before extrapolating these findings to early library education in general. However, the following quote from Stielow , is probably more representative of the view of library research:.

Butler authored a programmatic essay entitled An Introduction to Library Science Wersig , p. As long as there are no disciplines like 'hospital science' or 'jailhouse science' in existence, something like 'library science' is not very convincing [14]. Note that library science and librarianship are here considered synonyms, again indicating that we are not necessarily speaking about a science or a field of research. In schools of librarianship, the processes that librarians were supposed to master each of these subfields has its own huge subject literature were taught, in particular:.

Other important subfields include: Library history The social function of libraries [16] For some subfields, such as library history, library architecture and library administration, the term library science is meaningful. However, the knowledge needed to organize document collections and search for documents and information is not specific to libraries. The term documentation and, later, information science therefore became influential in the field [17].

The term information science has been traced back to Jason Farradane — in an article Farradane about the education of information scientists , a term introduced by Farradane , which he considered a synonym for documentalists [18]. Fields such as library science, the science of bibliography, scientific information and documentation were predecessors of information science, as pointed out by Kline , 19 :.

One of the most important indicators of the relationship between documentation and information science is the change in name of the American Documentation Institute founded in in to the American Society for Information Science [19]. What then, if anything, was new in information science? Aftab et al. In the years following , there was much talk of the information explosion [22] and the need to apply information technology to manage this explosion. The term information storage and retrieval ISR was common cf. This is, of course, true for digital communication: the content is coded into a digital format and later decoded back.

This coding is, however, a computer science issue rather than an information science issue. Similarly, however, in information science, the idea became common that documents had to be classified or indexed using an indexing language and later retrieved by the user by the same indexing language e. The entry concerning libraries was written by Shera , who later wrote Shera , :. Eugene Eli Garfield — was an important information scientist. The focus is not primarily on libraries but on journals, citation patterns and the whole scholarly communication system, its actors, systems, institutions, processes and products.

Garfield was also much engaged in providing practical solutions for problems in scientific communication and is one of the few people in the field who has been economically successful by creating innovative solutions. Are there more information sciences? Do people use this term for different fields? Is the term a homonym? Many researchers seem to confirm that this is the case, for example Fairthorne , Yuexiao and Wersig , :. Rayward , discusses library and information science, on the one hand, and computer and information science, on the other.

It is not clear, however, whether he sees these as two different information sciences. Another example is the Journal of Information Science and Technology ISSN , which appears to be somewhat different from other journals about information science. But when does a journal belong to a given field, and when not? A study by Schneider may also illuminate the nature of information science [28]. This view of information science was formulated very sharply by Machlup and Mansfield , 22 , who suggested that:. We may therefore conclude that information science is an unclear label a floating signifier and that there is a great need for clarification and for improved terminological hygiene.

The field of documentation [29] is associated with the movement founded by Paul Otlet — and Henri Lafontaine — The relationship between librarianship and documentation has been described in the following way Meadows , 59 :. British librarian and documentalist Samuel C. Bradford — wrote the first British textbook on documentation Bradford ; , and the Journal of Documentation — was and perhaps still is the leading British journal [30]. An American account was Shera The field of documentation concerned subject literature, abstracting journals, special libraries, archives, classification, the application of new technologies in scientific communication at that time, in particular, microfilm technology , the study of bibliometrics e.

Otlet was even concerned with developing a new kind of encyclopedia The Encyclopedia Universalis Mundaneum , and saw this as being closely linked to his bibliographical project. Documentation was thus a broad field. It was debated at the time whether documentation was a part of librarianship or vice versa cf. In the Copernican universe, traditional libraries are but planets, while knowledge production and dissemination, centralized information systems and the scientific literature form the central star.

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The content area of documentation was thus not very different from that mentioned in Section 2. When electronic databases became common in the s and s, searching was done by intermediaries referred to as research librarians, documentalists or information specialists. Online intermediation was the last common job function involving documentation in relation to information work: Danish research libraries, for example, had documentation departments until about However, with the arrival of end-user searching, this function was downgraded in most places cf. Some researchers consider it unfortunate that information science replaced documentation and that terms such as information retrieval , rather than document retrieval , became the standard.

The reason for this has never [32] been defended theoretically. Why was the term abandoned? Some benefits of the term documentation are that it is related both historically and logically to the term bibliography and that it emphasizes aspects of scientific and scholarly communication that are relatively distinct from the more technical aspects of computer science and information technology; it is thus both expressive of a unique focus for LIS and provides a perspective more connected to the history and aim of the discipline.

Some researchers in information science have called for the return of document as a basic term in LIS. Rayward et al. Before the term information science was introduced in , the field had various theoretical orientations. Other early researchers with a social orientation include Charles Ammi Cutter, Margaret Egan and Jesse Shera, the first academics to use the term social epistemology [48]. There were of course many other theoretical orientations; these researchers are mentioned here because they represent a sociologically oriented view that today represents a growing theoretical trend in the field.

However, before describing this, we will consider some of the most debated theoretical positions in LIS. First of all, however, let us consider some sources that seem to claim that there has been no overall theory or theoretical development in the field. Perhaps an atheoretical attitude is or has been a dominant view in the field? Rafael Capurro has developed a theoretical position related to social epistemology, but wrote Capurro :. Supporting a skeptical view of an overall atheoretical position, Bawden , wrote:. These four quotes all express that overall theoretical development in information science has been weak, and is difficult and perhaps impossible.

Should we, along with other theoretical positions, also operate with an atheoretical or antitheoretical position which, of course, is also a theoretical position that needs to be defended. We may label the view that science and knowledge develop independently of theoretical movements as positivism although this label is ambiguous [49].

In opposition to the positivist view, paradigm theory is a historically and socially oriented point of view related to hermeneutics. From this theoretical position, it becomes important to consider paradigms and research traditions. Two seminal publications, Shannon and Shannon and Weaver , developed statistical communication theory also called the classical theory of communication or information theory , although this is often considered a misnomer for a theory of data transmission.

The conceptual basis was provided by previous engineering studies of efficiency in the transmission of messages over electrical channels. This theory concerns the physical transmission of a message from a source to a receiver in an optimal way reducing loss and noise during the transmission. A basic idea in information theory is that the harder it is to guess what has been received, the more information one has obtained.

For example, specifying the outcome of a fair coin flip two equally likely outcomes provides less information than specifying the outcome from a roll of a dice six equally likely outcomes. The theory involves concepts such as information, communication channels, bandwidth, noise, data transfer rate, storage capacity, signal-to-noise ratio, error rate, feedback and so on see Figure 1. The core applications are issues such as data compression and the reliable storage and communication of data.

It has broadened since its inception, finding applications in many other areas; however, as we shall see, the applications to which information theory is relevant are a controversial topic. Information theory makes it possible to code messages, text, sounds, pictures etc. In other words, information theory is the theory underlying digitalization often involving making analog signals to discrete codes, of which the digital code is one among many possible.

Information theory concerns the technical optimization of such transmission and storage processes. A simple example is the text transmitted by teletypewriters: pressing a particular key on the sending machine causes a particular sequence of electrical signals to be sent to the receiving machine, which activates the corresponding type bar; the machine then prints out the character that corresponds to the key that was pressed.

The number of keys used at the sending end and the number of corresponding characters at the receiving end determines how much information is involved by transmitting a given letter or number, shift, linefeed etc. An essential keyboard for transmitting a message of English text without punctuation and Arabic numbers needs 27 symbols including a space.

These 27 symbols correspond to about 4. A typewriter with 50 keys, including shift, shift lock, carriage return and line advance, would need a six-bit code and so on. Information theory is thus a mathematical theory about the technological issues involved whenever data is transmitted, stored or retrieved; this has turned out to be essential to the design of present-day communication and computational systems. Zunde , wrote: "Information science is a young discipline and neither its empirical laws nor its theories are sufficiently well developed.

To some, Shannon's Information Theory is the only theory in this subject field". However, it is important to emphasize that in each year or period, the literature of LIS contains a mixture of many different topics and perspectives. It is not the case that in one period all or most papers are based on or reflect a certain paradigm of that period.

In other words, most views seem to co-exist at a given point in time, and it is just the meta-discussions that are dominated by a certain theoretical view in each period. An example of how information theory has been an interesting subject in relation to information science is the concept of redundancy. For example, Shannon measured the degree of redundancy in written English e. Similar experiments have been carried out with oral languages removing part of electronic signals carrying oral speech.

It has been shown that less redundancy is needed for native speakers Miller This may at first seem surprising, since hearing a message is one thing, and understanding it is another; the quality of the physical signal should only concern the first issue. Linguist and information scientist Henning Spang-Hanssen , electronic source, no page wrote:.

However, as pointed out by many, this measure is not particularly relevant to the field of library, information and documentation studies. Buckland , , for example, wrote:. As late as , it was claimed that information science is based on information theory Milojevic et al. Losee is a recent attempt to argue for "information theory" as the basis for information science and education within library and information science.

However, there is no demonstration of how that theory may contribute to any research problem in the field, such as information retrieval, indexing, thesaurus construction, information seeking, bibliometrics etc. Also, the author totally ignores all debates and criticisms about information theory, as provided by, for example, Buckland , Fugmann ; , Spang-Hanssen , Stock and Stock and many others.

Leydesdorff and Shubert Experiments at the Cranfield Institute of Technology in the s are often cited as the beginning of the modern area of testing and evaluation of computer-based information retrieval systems Cleverdon et al. In the Cranfield studies, retrieval experiments were conducted on a variety of test databases in a controlled, laboratory-like setting. In the second series of experiments, known as Cranfield II, alternative indexing languages constituted the performance variable under investigation. The aim of the research was to find ways to improve the relative retrieval effectiveness of IR systems through better indexing languages and methods Cleverdon The components of the Cranfield experiments were: a small test collection of documents; a set of test queries; and a set of relevance judgments, that is, a set of documents judged to be relevant to each query.

For the purposes of performance comparison, it was necessary to select quantitative measures of relevant documents output by the system under various controlled conditions. The famous recall and precision measures derivatives of the concept of relevance were first used in the Cranfield II experiments. Relevance assessments were made by people with different backgrounds, mostly scientists in the field. Each assessor evaluated each document in full text on a five-point scale and made qualitative notes about the assessment. Most important is that relevance was evaluated in relation to its possible function for the user because this is directly opposed to how the systems view is mostly being described.

The paper further discussed how relevance assessments vary greatly among different assessors. Appendix 1 in Cleverdon lists the test-questions and the real documents used in the test. This seems important because it makes interpretations of the relevance-assessments possible. This procedure seems different from how it is described by the user-oriented researchers. Table 1 shows some results of the relative recall of four different indexing languages. It was a shock to the LIS community that a high-quality classification system like the UDC which demands highly qualified indexers seems to be less effective than the low-tech Uniterm system a system mainly based on uncontrolled, single words extracted from the text of a document.

Despite criticism, these results have since influenced the attitude of main-stream information retrieval researchers, not just in relation to UDC, but to all kinds of controlled vocabularies. Among the criticisms raised against this tradition are that human searchers, their interaction with the system, their interpretation of the query, and their process-formed relevance judgments were factors excluded from these experiments.

That said, there seems to be much misplaced criticism of this tradition and by implication a misplaced trust in what has mainly been understood as its alternative: the cognitive view. Firstly, the very dichotomy between systems-based and user-based approaches is problematic because neither can be understood without the other cf.

This paradigm has not always been explicit about its own values, nor have its own basic assumptions always been examined. According to Warner, these records have been evaluated according to their relevance using measures such as recall and precision in relation to the query. Warner finds that the underlying methodology tends to reify the concept of relevance and that the underlying indexing philosophy in the searched material is neglected and taken as given.

Finally, he finds that this approach contains an implicit teleology aimed at the construction of a perfect system. This tradition is far older, but less influential today. In his opinion, there are two especially valuable elements in this tradition. The conclusion can be drawn that the Cranfield tradition remains strong in information science; it was continued by the Text REtrieval Conferences TREC and today still represents the most important contribution to the development of search engines and other IR systems although it has mostly migrated from information science to computer science.

In information science, it has been met with criticism. An important characteristic of the Cranfield tradition is the view that subject expertise is needed in evaluating information retrieval and knowledge organization and not just user satisfaction. Kuhlthau , 1 described "the bibliographical paradigm" as follows: Traditionally, library and information service have centered on sources and technology. Libraries have developed sophisticated systems for collecting, organizing, and retrieving texts and have applied advanced technology to provide access to vast sources of information.

This bibliographic paradigm of collecting and classifying texts and devising search strategies for their retrieval has promoted a view of information use from the system's perspective. For the most part, library and information science has concentrated on the system's representation of texts rather than on users' texts, problems, and processes in information gathering. We see that Kuhlthau here relates the bibliographical paradigm to the systems perspective, which needs, however, to be considered further.

There has been a tradition in LIS to study the literatures of specific domains e. The case is, that one cannot be professional in LIS without such knowledge which may be more or less specialized according to job function: very general in small public libraries, very specific in libraries such as the National Library of Medicine in Washington, D. There was a time when the study of the literatures and other documents of different domains flourished in LIS.

It is characteristic, unfortunately, that those article are old reprints rather than reflecting current research. Studies of literatures cannot be substituted by, for example, studies of users. Some of the criticisms raised against this view may be related to problematic philosophical premises. The bibliographical paradigm does not necessarily imply a positivist description of documents, but may imply a consideration of what documents can do, and how library and information science can support documents in doing important tasks, i.

The bibliographic paradigm — or certain interpretations of it — point forward to Section 3. To say that information processes and processors are cognitive in nature is a triviality that cannot be used to distinguish these from other approaches. Dahlberg is an editorial about the cognitive view in knowledge organization.

She declared the term cognitive approaches a tautology, since all approaches to KO must, in one way or another, be concerned with conceptual and cognitive issues; according to Dahlberg, the term is thus not specifying anything new in knowledge organization. Since the cognitive view is often presented as one of several positions, its theoretical assumptions relative to other perspectives must be further examined. As Slife and Williams , 71 wrote:.

For example, Human Information Processing Lindsay and Norman influenced LIS and was in some places used as a text in information science around One of the main figures in the cognitive view in information science is Nicholas Belkin, who claimed , 11 : It is shown, by example, that considering problems of information science from this point of view has led to significant advances in a variety of areas of information science, including bibliometrics [53] , user studies, the reference interview and information retrieval.

This variety of applications suggests that the cognitive viewpoint may be a powerful framework for the general theoretical and practical development of information science. Such a broad influence is what should be expected from a paradigm or framework theory in information science. In other words, the principles of information science can be uncovered by the study of the human mental system, considered to be universal as opposed to a culturally and socially shaped mind. For example, is it correct that the cognitive view is based on a relativistic model of knowledge, altered by cognitive and social processes?

Sampson argued that cognitivism, by virtue of the primacy it gives to the individual knower [55] , to subjective determinants of behavior, and to formal cognitive operations, represents a set of values and interests that reproduce and reaffirm the existing nature of the social order, and thus must be understood as an ideology. In information science, Frohmann criticized the cognitive understanding of indexing. Based on the philosophy of the late Wittgenstein, Frohmann argued that principles of indexing cannot be rules inherent in a universal mind.

If information specialists are going to index a text, we may assume that the principles of this indexing have been learned, for example during their education in LIS. Such principles may have been discussed in the literature and developed historically based on research which is informed by epistemological theories, which themselves are developed historically. In other words, LIS is supposed to develop sound principles of indexing, rather than to uncover them by studying abstract minds. Talja wrote: It is widely recognized that both individual information needs and institutional information access are socially conditioned.

However, conducting information seeking research on a macro-sociological level has turned out to be difficult within the cognitive viewpoint, since it is basically a theory of how individuals process information. The cognitive viewpoint offers no concrete and obvious solutions to the question of how to conceptualize and study the socio-cultural context of information processes. Talja et al. We should remember the connection between the cognitive view in information science and that of Lindsay and Norman , which indicates that the cognitive view in information science is related to cognitive science.

It may be, however, that the authors in the cognitive tradition are not themselves loyal to their metatheoretical commitments. However, for those researchers who consider knowledge and information as fundamentally social in nature, this task seems condemned from the beginning [59]. In his view, the cognitive tradition is also based on the query transformation assumption rather than on the idea of selection power. Despite the unclarified issues in the cognitive approach and the serious arguments that have been raised against it, there is a today a large body of interdisciplinary literature informed by that view [60].

In this way, cognitive science may come closer to the views introduced in Section 3. The cognitive-historical approach, in particular, seems fruitful for knowledge organization cf. Philosopher Luciano Floridi born has developed a philosophy of information which he labels the philosophy of information PI or the philosophy of computing and information PCI. He rightly points out Floridi , 39 that:. This argumentation is somewhat confusing [63] ; an example can be considered as follows. Information specialists index documents in databases such as MEDLINE in order to make it possible to produce systematic reviews reflecting which medical treatments have the best effects in relation to a certain disease.

Here, documents are primarily indexed serving information retrieval, or rather document retrieval. What is considered proper information is here the same as what is considered proper knowledge. Documents have different epistemic status, and in evidence-based medicine the highest status is given to documents reporting randomized controlled trials RCTs. Therefore, there are epistemic norms governing which documents should be retrieved.

Such norms are never decided once and for all, and should not be considered too mechanically. In all domains, there tend to be different views connected to different epistemological norms, and information professionals are therefore involved in epistemic problems whether they like it or not. Here, Cornelius , provided his evaluation and concluded:. In the afterword to the same issue, Floridi a , stated: Library information science LIS should develop its foundation in terms of a philosophy of information PI.

This seems a rather harmless suggestion. Where else could information science look for its conceptual foundations if not in PI? Although this statement may seem obvious, it is problematic. It should be remembered that the name of the discipline LIS is itself an issue and that theoreticians have problematized it. Brookes — and philosopher Fred Dretske — , although it is opposed to the views put forward by David C.

Biologists, for example, do not need philosophers to construct a philosophy of life in order to develop biology although a certain cooperation between philosophers and domain experts is desirable. In information science, many theoretical arguments have been put forward and considered, and we cannot expect philosophy to provide a basis for LIS as far as these arguments have not been addressed by the philosophers. It is entirely self-referential, citing only his own writings, and with no indication that he has read any of the preceding 15 papers. However, a recent, positive and relatively developed evaluation of Floridi's PI is Bawden and Robinson In the s and s, two paradigms dominated in the theoretical discourses on LIS: the physical approach and the cognitive view.

In other words, information science became more pluralistic. The new approaches were often related to social, cultural and philosophical perspectives. Examples from the international scene were Frohmann and Blair , along with views which had been formerly expressed, such as those of Wilson and Winograd and Flores [65]. In Scandinavia, such socially oriented views were also put forward. As stated in Section 3 , socially oriented perspectives on LIS also existed at an earlier time.

This perspective includes the analysis of the roles of all actors, institutions, systems, media and documents. It also means that explanations for empirically observed phenomena are sought in social conditions rather than in universal cognitive processes. Since Shera and Egan and Shera introduced the term social epistemology , there has been much interdisciplinary controversy about epistemological issues.

Kuhn introduced the influential concepts of paradigm and the paradigm shift just as social constructivism, post-modernism etc. Different information systems and knowledge organization systems are influenced by certain paradigms, and tend to support certain tasks and interests at the expense of other interests. This example also illuminates the content-oriented view: that the mediation of information, knowledge and documents cannot escape issues concerning the content of what is mediated. The shift from a cognitive, individual perspective to a social and cultural perspective is important for LIS, and, as we saw above, for epistemology and linguistics.

There are many studies of the content and structure of LIS. Some approaches towards studying this have been: To study the educational programs at schools of library and information science SLIS. To study the disciplinary composition of researchers and teachers at SLIS. To carry out a content analysis of a representative set of publications from LIS. To carry out bibliometric studies of publications in LIS or in other disciplines.

To create facet-analytic classifications of LIS. To carry out domain-analytic studies of LIS. Borup Larsen contains a study of the curricula at SLIS in Europe and finds the following distribution of core subject areas taught:. We shall not consider methodological problems in this study; however, we will point out that the labels used for content areas often cover very different content, and that the assumptions behind the content may reflect very different views of what kind of knowledge is needed in the future.

Most studies of LIS focus on the research literature cf. Section 4. Although this is a very popular research field, there is almost no research on LIS textbooks, one exception being a Russian study reviewed by Foskett In a way, this is understandable, since studies of the scholarly literature of LIS represent firsthand knowledge whereas studies of textbooks present the field through the interpretation of their authors, and therefore represent second-hand knowledge about the content and structure of LIS.

However, textbooks and related genres such as readings, handbooks and bibliographic guides [68] provide the kinds of syntheses which may provide additional relevant perspectives. We do not have much knowledge of which texts are generally used in LIS education. It is likely that specialized texts on, for example, knowledge organization e.

Rowley and Farrow ; Taylor and Joudrey or Glushko , information seeking e. Case and Given or bibliometrics e. Bellis are much used, whereas general texts on LIS are less often used, since these are more difficult to integrate into educational programs consisting of various subdisciplines [69].

In terms of texts on LIS as a whole, Stock and Stock stands out as the most ambitious work, entitled Handbook of Information Science and containing pages. Handbooks are normally anthologies written by experts in the different topics; however, here we have the view of two researchers of the field. The main structure of the book is as follows:. Davis and Shaw is a textbook that was written by a team of authors; this started as a Wiki-project and therefore has a somewhat mingled perspective.

It contains the following chapters:. Rubin is a well-received text, which includes coverage of: the history and mission of libraries, from past to present; digital devices, social networking and other technologies; the impact of digital publishing on the publishing industry and the effects of eBooks on libraries the values and ethics of the profession; how library services have evolved in the areas of virtual reference, embedded librarianship, digital access and repositories, digital preservation and civic engagement; new and ongoing efforts to organize knowledge, such as FRBR, RDA Resource Description And Access , BIBFRAME, the Semantic Web, and the Next Generation Catalog Catalog 2.

However, one might say that this is not quite what the title promises in terms of Foundations of Library and Information Science. Again cf. Section 2. For example, it contains a chapter about the history of libraries; however, this is not an introduction to the historiography of libraries, nor is it about the science or study of libraries, nor theory or research, but is simply some information about the history of libraries Connaway and Radford , in contrast, is about the methodology of LIS. Bawden and Robinson contains the following chapters: 1.

What is information science? Disciplines and professions 2. History of information: the story of documents 3. Philosophies and paradigms of information science 4. Basic concepts of information science 5. Domain analysis 6. Information organization 7. Information technologies: creation, dissemination and retrieval 8. Informetrics 9. Information behaviour Communicating information: changing contexts Information society Information management and policy Digital literacy Information science research: what and how? The future of the information sciences Among the fine qualities of this book are its coverage of the philosophies and paradigms in LIS and the fact that it is written by well-known authors in the field.

Perhaps, however, the book is more eclectic than it is based on a certain theoretical outlook. Many persons including one of the reviewers of the present article do not agree on the necessity of the emphasis on different paradigms [70].

1 Introduction

The most important problem in LIS is related to theoretical and conceptual clarifications, and it is difficult to find textbooks based on a well-considered standpoint. Another way of studying LIS is to focus on the teaching and research staff, their educational backgrounds and their research. Studies of the research output of these schools show a much broader picture than the studies presented in Sections 4.

Meho and Spurgin , for example, found that no database provides comprehensive coverage of the literature produced by researchers employed in SLIS; researchers must therefore rely on a wide range of disciplinary and multidisciplinary databases for ranking and other research purposes. The explanation is probably that many professors at SLIS institutions do not or do not primarily publish in LIS journals but in journals devoted to other fields. Wiggins and Sawyer found that there are great variations in the intellectual composition of different iSchools; this seems to be related to local logics that, over time, have guided hiring to meet the needs of individual schools.

From this, the authors infer that these local arrangements are more important to hiring decisions than is any sense of shared community identity. In other words, iSchools and with them SLIS seem less to be an international or just regional community in which researchers compete for positions, and are more influenced by local priorities see also Golub et al. In the first of these studies, a relatively detailed topic classification system was developed reprinted in Tuomaala et al.

The authors admit that this classification system is somewhat outdated, although it was also used in the latest study to be able to compare former periods. Its overall structure is:. Tuomaala et al. Among the methodological problems in this series of studies is that they cannot specify, for example, which studies of ISR should be considered computer science studies and which should be considered LIS studies. This is due to several factors: the migration of information retrieval from information science to computer science; the interdisciplinary nature of LIS journals cf.

Chua and Yang ; and finally the classical epistemological problem: to select something, you must already know what that something is. There have been many bibliometric studies of the intellectual structure of LIS [71]. Liu et al. Import-export studies are investigations based on citation analysis to describe the exchange of ideas between disciplines or scholarly communities. This economic metaphor was introduced in the seminal work by Cronin and Pearson An import study for a field e.

Export studies, on the other hand demonstrate which disciplines a given discipline is cited by, representing a kind of reception studies. It is a common premise in science studies that interdisciplinarity is a positive thing and that isolated disciplines disciplines not cited in other disciplines is an indicator of a crisis [73] although some disciplines such as mathematics are exceptions from this rule. Import studies of LIS may reveal from which fields of knowledge LIS has mostly drawn, and to which it is therefore most closely related.

There have been several empirical examinations of the relationship between LIS and other fields, and selected studies only are mentioned here. Small , 49 examined the relationship of information science to the social sciences. At the same time, information science, at least in the context of the social and behavioral sciences, appears somewhat isolated.

It certainly is not the central discipline, with strong linkages to many diverse fields, that many would like it to be. Warner examined the impact of linguistic theory on information science and showed that the examined portion of the information science literature cited linguistic theory very seldom.

Further data analysis showed that a small number of citing and cited authors accounted for most of the activity, and that syntax and semantics gained more attention from information scientists than other branches of linguistic theory. Borgman and Rice examined the relationship between information science and communication studies; Ellis et al. However, all such empirical studies can only identify which in the past have been the most related cognate fields based on which paradigms have been dominant.

Huang and Chang investigated the interdisciplinary changes in information sciences over the period to , and found that information science researchers have most frequently cited publications in LIS. The co-authors of information science articles are also primarily from the discipline of LIS, although the percentage of LIS references is much higher. This indicates that information science researchers mainly rely on publications in LIS, and that they often produce scientific papers with researchers from LIS.

The degree of interdisciplinarity in information science has shown growth, particularly in terms of co-authoring. In LIS, many theoretical points of view are imported from other fields. Almost all well-known theorists from, for example, the social sciences have been used in LIS. Leckie et al. However, such theorists are seldom used to establish a broad theoretical frame for issues in LIS, such as bibliometrics, classification, information retrieval, information seeking etc.

There are many export studies in LIS, and a few are briefly introduced here. They found that the discipline, as represented by the work of these six grandees, exported little to other disciplines. Tang studied citations of LIS publications drawn randomly from six years in the period and , and showed that LIS involves a wide spectrum of interests from across the sciences, social sciences, arts and humanities. Cronin and Meho is a large-scale study which found that LIS exported significantly to computer science, engineering and management during the years — and also imported much from the same disciplines.

Odell and Gabbard is a follow-up of the study by Meyer and Spencer ; these authors also found large increases in LIS exports to computer science, business and management. Hessey and Willett is a methodologically important study that questions some of the former results concerning LIS exports. Using the subject categories in the Web of Science is popular in such studies; however, some journals are classified in more than one subject field, and this may provide a highly over-optimistic view of the extent to which LIS knowledge is being exported to the wider academic community.

Another interesting finding was that just 11 distinct articles from the Sheffield Chemoinformatics Group absolutely dominated the export from LIS. One strength of the study was that it considered the relative value of different kinds of exports. Import-export studies concerning LIS are relevant to the relationship between LIS and other disciplines, as discussed in Section 5 below.

The classification of subject fields is one of the classical activities of LIS professionals and researchers. One of the major researchers in facet analytical classification was Jack Mills, who contributed to a classification of LIS Daniel and Mills It seems worthwhile to evaluate the facet analytic classification method in relation to the classification of LIS compared with other approaches, although this has never been done, and is outside the scope of this article.

It should be said, however, that the logical structuring of the concepts of a field is a valuable, if not indispensable, activity. However, such a logical structuring cannot replace a concern with the theoretical issues in the field classified, and cannot provide a neutral classification. Domain analysis is different from content analysis, bibliometric studies and facet analytical classification in its emphasis of the necessity of the historical and philosophical analysis of knowledge domains.

This article is an attempt to provide background knowledge about LIS in order to illuminate the importance of different conceptualizations of the field. The main conclusion is that there is today no consensus on what constitute the most important subfields of LIS. Empirical studies reveal a confusing picture, and passing fads such as the H-index may distort the picture; on the other hand, the picture may be influenced by researchers who routinely do the same kinds of studies, although these may be of limited value.

Milojevic et al. However, the subfields identified in this study seem not to be theoretically coherent fields. LIS institutions, systems and processes can be understood as second-order genres depending on a critical analysis and mediation of first-order genres. For example, in evidence-based medicine, the systematic review is a genre based on certain epistemological assumptions. LIS is about providing databases and search techniques for mediating medical knowledge, including support for the researchers writing systematic reviews. The criteria for what counts as evidence are not developed within LIS, but must be known by LIS professionals working in this domain.

Bradford , ; , wrote under the heading The Scattering of Articles on a Given Subject :. If Bradford was right, it follows that any subject, including LIS, is more or less remotely connected to every other subject. But what determines which subjects are closely related and which subjects are only peripherally related? A rationalist philosophy may see the world as having a given structure and science as a representation of this given structure; it may expect a fixed relationship between disciplines.

However, it seems obvious that the relationship, for example, between LIS and other disciplines is relative to the underlying conception of LIS. If LIS is considered from a cognitive perspective, LIS should be closely related to the cognitive sciences [74] , and so on; each theoretical position in LIS as in other fields has implications for the relationship between LIS and other fields, that is, for which subjects are closely related and which subjects are only peripherally related.

In other words, it cannot be decided which fields are closely related to LIS until we have made up our minds on which theoretical position in LIS we consider the most fruitful. As shown in Section 4. However, such empirical studies simply reveal the relationship between disciplines based on what in the past have been the most influential paradigms. By implication, LIS must be understood as a metascience cf. Therefore, LIS is first and foremost related to the specific fields of scholarship, for example, chemistry, biology, art studies or literature studies. To create a classification or a thesaurus of, say, birds, primarily requires an up-to-date knowledge of ornithology.

Mediation of medical knowledge requires knowledge about the medical criteria of evidence and the way evidence is provided in systematic reviews and presented in medical databases. In a way, culture including literature, history, music, the arts etc. Among the metascientific perspectives, the philosophical and the sociological are most important cf. Section 3. LIS has generally been greatly influenced by the institutional purposes of SLIS, which traditionally have been dominated by the education of librarians, mostly for public libraries.

In marked contrast to computer science, which developed from mathematical, scientific and technological research and shaped its own market, LIS, to a much larger degree, has taken shape from the need to educate people for already existing institutions, systems and processes. Central questions are therefore:. Concerning 1, there are many statistics and studies regarding trends in the use of libraries; the details are not communicated here. A valuable but generally neglected study is Huymans and Hillebrink Central tendencies in the use of libraries seem to be:. Traditionally, the physical delivery of documents has been overwhelmingly the most important function for libraries.

An important question is whether the library can develop new services which are more concerned with the intellectual communication of documents, information, knowledge and culture. As pointed out by Huymans and Hillebrink , , it should also be considered that the use of cultural activities, such as exhibitions, probably. Regarding 2, in Section 2. At the same time, it is characteristic of the definition that the listed functions almost all depend on domain knowledge, and that high-quality information services therefore demand specialized subject knowledge, e.

LIS-educated persons are meeting with increasing competition from people educated in other domains. It is important to understand that the development of practice should be led by research, and not vice versa. LIS professionals depend on their knowledge base, and that knowledge base is closely related to LIS research. The objects of study are processes such as information provision or the mediation of culture, as well as libraries and other institutions with similar functions, involved in this process.

The discipline has connections to a range of other disciplines within the social sciences, the humanities and technologies. A related understanding of LIS was formulated by Andersen [76] :. Endnotes 1. However, Google, for example, was not developed using the application of knowledge developed in LIS or KO, and the quote is therefore wrong. LIS and KO have played a much more modest role. What Andersen probably intended to write was that LIS and KO have potential for developing important new perspectives on those infrastructures.

The plural form is also used for information science alone, e. This also goes for the tendency to replace science with studies , as Duke University began in a program called Information Science and Studies. The listed disciplines, except informatics, records management, and social studies of information, are covered by separate articles in the encyclopedia. In addition to those listed there is an article on "Information science" Saracevic , which is reprinted in the fourth edition, , IV: — without indication that it is a reprint! Related to social studies of information, there are articles about, for example, social epistemology and social informatics.

Winter , wrote about this classification of disciplines:. Note also that today there is an increasing tendency to combine some of these disciplines archives, libraries, and museums studies ALM into one educational program cf. These are probably better understood as adjacent fields or cognate disciplines which may, however, also be the case with some of the disciplines included by Bates and Maack , xiii. Other fields to consider are bibliometrics, research on databases and search engines, social media and internet studies, which are interdisciplinary fields with a strong LIS component.

Fields such as medical informatics, legal informatics, geographical information science, digital humanities etc. Perhaps LIS itself should also be considered a merging or combination of different fields, but as such a more established combination. The term library and information science research seems to be a pleonasm since anything termed science should, by definition, be research.

However, the journal Library and Information Science Research is focused on methodology in LIS, and in this case the term seems therefore adequate. Regarding the use of this pleonasm, see also the quote from Wilson below. Wilson ; electronic source, no page. In Readmond-Neal and Hlava LIS is considered synonymous with information science 68 , whereas librarianship is considered a related term The term library research has two different meanings: 1 the study of libraries, their operation, history, social impact etc.

See Abbott and Mann for this second meaning. Perhaps we could say that the ultimate goal of library research in the first sense is to facilitate library research in the second sense. Dewey Decimal Classification DDC used the term library economy for class in its first edition from In the second edition and all subsequent editions it was moved to class The term library economy was used until and including the 14th edition From the 15th edition , class was termed library science , which was used until and including the 17th edition ; it was then replaced by library and information sciences LIS from 18th ed.

Vakkari found, however, that the development of library science as a science in the strictest sense was under way by the time that Graesel published his handbook on librarianship. Stock and Stock , 15 wrote The object of library science is the empirical and theoretical analysis of specific activities; among these are the collection, conservation, provision and evaluation of documents and the knowledge fixed therein. Its tools are elaborate systems for the formal and content-oriented processing of information.

Topics like the creation of classification systems or information dissemination were common property of this discipline even before the term "information science" existed. This close link facilitates—especially in the United States—the development of approaches toward treating information science and library science as a single aggregate discipline, called "LIS" Library and Information Science. Stock and Stock are right in their claim that topics such as the creation of classification systems or information dissemination were common properties of this discipline even before the term information science existed.

However, it is still the question when work about, for example, the creation of classification systems is a research-based activity. Real systematic research programs came with, for example, the Classification Research Group in the UK about and with the so-called Cranfield tradition from the s , the first mostly connected with library science, the last with information science but with overlapping figures, e. Jack Mills. The classification research of Bliss and the Classification Research Group is not about libraries although it was applied mainly in libraries. The term documentation seems to be a better choice.

Consider that we have today fields like archival science, museum studies and theatre studies. It should also be said that the terms documentation and information science were not limited to libraries, but included the study of archives, museums, databases and other memory institutions. However, when LIS was taught, the focus has often been on library cataloging rules and classification systems at the expense of, for example, archives and museums. In a way, the term LIS has therefore not lived up to its name.

Even if the term information science only goes back to , the field may be older; it may be retrospectively constructed in the minds of some people. This book considers five individuals to be the visionaries who formed information science: Vannevar Bush , Norbert Wiener , Claude E. Shannon , S. Bradford and Arthur C.

Clarke — However, to claim that these people formed information science as a discipline is problematic. Busch is much cited in information science today for his Memex, but whether this idea laid the ground for a research field is another issue just as the analogy between Memex and the internet is probably a retrograde construction.

Wiener is known as the father of cybernetics, but he or cybernetics has had no direct influence on the development of information science. Shannon is the father of the so-called information theory, which many in the beginning saw as probably the theoretical foundation for information science, but which in hindsight turned out not to be.

Bradford was an important documentalist, and it is well known that documentation changed its name to information science. Finally, Clarke was mainly a science fiction writer, best known for the screenplay for the film A Space Odyssey. He was also a science writer, and Lilley and Trice attribute to him the idea of communication satellites in space around the world to facilitate radio and television transmission. Although this turned out to be an important technology for information science, it is not a contribution to information science, and is neither a theoretical contribution nor a contribution to information science as an organized community.

Other examples of talking about information science before include Rayward , p. From this perspective, information science and ISR are retronyms new words for things formerly known under other names. It is questionable whether Proffitt is right. The way information has been understood in information science seems to go further back in time cf. This field is not concerned with documents, and not even primarily concerned with the content or meaning of documents or other symbolic representations, but concentrates on the efficient transmission of signals, which may—or may not—convey meaning.

According to Spang-Hanssen , information explosion is a problematic term. This, however, does not form an explosion of information, unless the number of printed pages is proportional to the amount of information resulting from the production and the distribution of these pages. In other words, when using the expression "the information explosion" we tacitly assume that professional papers contain information to a constant degree, regardless of their number, and regardless of their being utilized by informee s.

The underlying conception of information is not particularly useful. It might be, e. One might even imagine that an explosion-like growth of produced literature would have a lowering effect on the total utilization of the literature, i. In Shera there are some points of view with which I believe we have to disagree. However, many kinds of research and service are based on research e. Whether it is labeled as library science, LIS, information science or whatever, it is about construing a relevant research field aimed at supporting library and information service and practices.

It is strange that Shera claims that librarianship should not be based on research. Another point, as already indicated, is that Shera conflates information science with information theory although information theory was influential at the beginning. Again, social epistemology, in hindsight, may turn out to be the best theoretical frame also for that subfield.

Theories of bibliometrics are about a scientist citing scientists, i. Information technology is about producing computer equipment. Of course, information retrieval is also about producing search engines and algorithms, which are part of information technology. Firstly, it should be considered that the main part of research in information retrieval has migrated from information science to computer science.

Secondly, criteria for calibrating search engines and algorithms must be based on a theory that cannot be technological. Interestingly, there appears to have been no overlap between this roster of authors and those who participated in CoLIS 7 in London in This raises some important questions on how fields ought to be delimited if at all and how publications should be selected for mapping purposes.

It is first of all a sampling problem rather than a normalization problem. It is not a question of right or wrong. It is the simple fact stemming from the phenomena of skewed distributions. Very few mapping studies address this issue. Documentation may also be termed documentation science or documentation studies. Scientific documentation may be considered a subfield. The documentation movement is closely related to bibliography cf. Shera and Egan Otlet thus published a paper on the science of bibliography In opposition to American Documentation , which, in , changed its name to Journal of the American Society for Information Science , Journal of Documentation has retained its original name.

Exceptions from the rule that information science replaced documentation as the name for the field is, in addition to Journal of Documentation , that international standards uses the term information and documentation , for example, ISO Information and Documentation: Foundations and Vocabulary. It has been created with a balanced representation of major work areas in mind: documentation, libraries, archives, media, museums, records management, conservation as well as legal aspects of documentation.

With one exception: van Rijsbergen and Lalmas , , who wrote: In the early days of Information Retrieval van Rijsbergen , people used to qualify their statements about information retrieval IR by saying that really they were working on document retrieval. It was denied strenuously that information was being retrieved. The situation has changed.

We believe that the purpose of an information retrieval system is to provide information about a request and that a request is a representation of an information need that an IR system attempts to satisfy. Hence, a fundamental problem is how to compute the information contained in one object e. Thus, if a user states a query then it behooves the IR system to find the objects that contain information about that query. Let us see how this was done in the past and what role information played, if any.

However, this argument is not convincing, and seems to be based on an individualistic epistemology. Scholars often, for example, search documents which cite a given document in order to evaluate its status within the scholarly community. Moreover, various investigations of a property have often led to different results that cannot be compared and evaluated apart from information about their background. An empirical fact always has a history and a perhaps not too certain future.

This history and future can be known only through information from particular documents, i. One gets the impression that different kinds of professionals related to librarianship and documentation with different backgrounds and different working context were often in conflict and chose different labels because they did not wish to be identified with each other. In order to solve this conflict, neutral terms have been suggested and used, for example Library, Information and Documentation, LID Rayward et al. LIS is one example, but there are others as well.

One is management research, described by Whitley as a 'fragmented adhocracy', a field with a low level of coordination around a diffuse set of goals and a non-specialized terminology; but with strong connections to the practice in the business sector". Egan and Shera introduced the term social epistemology which today has become important in, for example, philosophy and sociology. For a long time, this view had been neglected in LIS, but now seems to be undergoing a renaissance; in retrospect, an updated version of social epistemology may be the most important theoretical contribution to LIS.

Ellis and in other papers analyzed the physical paradigm and the cognitive paradigm in information retrieval. Fuchs , 81 is a book written from a Marxist perspective. Olaisen is critical about the dominant paradigm in library science functionalism, logical empiricism and suggests more focus on criticism and constructivism. Pickard is a textbook on research methods in information studies. In Chapter One, it presents three major research paradigms: positivist research, postpositivism and interpretivism.

Tredinnick briefly introduces the physical paradigm and the cognitive shift in information science and then, in the following chapters:. Patrick Wilson argues that social epistemology is important for LIS. He connects this view to skepticism Pyrrhonian skepticism : "One might argue this book [ Wilson ] is in effect such an argument that skepticism is a highly appropriate attitude toward the productions of the knowledge industry" p.

Only when optimally compressed may hardware digits carrying capacity approach Shannon information. Ellis , s. Tredinnick Sometimes bibliometric studies and other kinds of studies of scientific literatures are also included in this label. Raber , included Shannon's theory, bibliometrics and the Cranfield experiments under the label "the physical metaphor". Other texts may just mention one of these two traditions. It seems as if many people see these traditions as related.

Library and information science (IEKO)

However, there are, for example, no references to Shannon in the core texts of the Cranfield experiments. In spite of the mentioning of bibliometrics in the quote, bibliometrics was not further presented by Belkin The opposite claim seems true: the cognitive view did not lead to significant advances in a variety of areas of information science, and the present article argues that other views, in particular social epistemology, are in hindsight the most fruitful theoretical framework for LIS.

The cognitive approach is often said to be about the individual knower.