Philosophical Issues

Ariel Glucklich

in The End of Magic

Published in print May 1997 | ISBN: 9780195108798
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199853434 | DOI:
Philosophical Issues

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Do we consider certain phenomena magical because we think of the body and the mind as distinct and separate? It seems possible that the extraordinary power attributed to so-called magical healing would be accepted as commonplace if we were to let go of the centuries-old habit of separating body and mind. Many writers on new medicine, “quantum healing” and the rest, feel that this distinction should be dropped. But if we abandon dualism, what is the alternative: Materialism? Mentalism? Some New Age scientists, Fritjof Capra for instance, have fallen back on an idealism that uses the idiom of contemporary physics but owes more to the ancient mystical philosophies of Asia. Unfortunately, it is far easier to lament the sorrows of Cartesian dualism than to devise an alternative that will satisfy our commonsense and ideals. Since magic is also a cultural fact, and is often a corporate affair, the question of body and mind extends to nature and culture. This chapter considers the various philosophical possibilities and their effects on how one can understand magic.

Keywords: magic; body; mind; nature; culture; magical healing; dualism; materialism; mentalism; New Age scientists

Chapter.  4683 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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