Systems, Mind, and Magic

Ariel Glucklich

in The End of Magic

Published in print May 1997 | ISBN: 9780195108798
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199853434 | DOI:
Systems, Mind, and Magic

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Phenomenology and system theory are the foundations of the “magical experience.” They offer a way out of the body/mind impasse. Magic, taken as an experience rather than as a doctrine, is the very consciousness of an overall interactional system that defies the logic of composite parts. The philosophical and anthropological underpinnings of this claim can be found in part in the systemic thinking of John Searle in philosophy, Gerald Edelman in neurology, and Roy Rappaport in anthropology. The concept of emergent property explains the products of systems in terms of internal causal interaction. Mind, according to Searle, is such an “emergent property” of the system of neurons in the brain. The “objectivist fallacy” is responsible for our mistaken view that the body is objective while the mind is subjective and that on account of this fact the two must be distinct and separate. Gerald Edelman, a Nobel Prize-winning neuroscientist, has followed Searle's philosophical guidelines in trying to explain how a mind emerges from the brain by proposing a theory called “neuro-Darwinism.”.

Keywords: John Searle; Gerald Edelman; neuro-Darwinism; magic; magical experience; objectivist fallacy; phenomenology; system theory; mind; body

Chapter.  3608 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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