Tylor’s anthropomorphic theory of religion

Robert A. Segal*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Edward Tylor is the classical social scientific exponent of the view that religion and science are incompatible. For Tylor, religion and science are incompatible because they offer incompatible explanations of the physical world. For Tylor, the religious explanation is inherently anthropomorphic: It attributes all events to the decisions of gods. By contrast, the scientific explanation ascribes events to impersonal, mechanical processes. Yet for all Tylor’s preoccupation with anthropomorphism as the heart of the religious explanation, he never makes clear why the religious explanation is necessarily anthropomorphic, why an anthropomorphic explanation is necessarily unscientific, and why an anthropomorphic explanation is necessarily false.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-30
Number of pages8
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1995


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