Chapter

New Science, Old Magic

Ariel Glucklich

in The End of Magic

Published in print May 1997 | ISBN: 9780195108798
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199853434 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195108798.003.0007
New Science, Old Magic

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Sociological and symbolical interpreters of magic singlemindedly ignore the occult questions that magic raises. The social sciences simply have no methods for inspecting extraordinary causal claims, which they regard as superfluous to the real purpose of magic. Any effort to verify or falsify occult claims would simply sidetrack the researcher from the proper manner of understanding magical phenomena. Hard scientists, who like to tinker with ideas, are more likely to take the boasts of magicians literally, if only for the sake of exposing their fakery. Recently, a new trend in medical and physical research has begun to regard magic both literally and sympathetically as an area worthy of serious study. This chapter looks at a few representative ideas and asks whether such new science projects explain magic, or explain it away. It examines the relatively new field of medical anthropology, and more specifically medical ecology, magical healing and folk healing, and psychoneuroimmunology.

Keywords: magic; occult; new science; psychoneuroimmunology; magical healing; folk healing; medical ecology

Chapter.  5866 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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