Magic and "superstitious" beliefs and their role in the modern world are poorly understood, largely because scholars have traditionally dismissed an analytical approach to systems of thought seen as standing in opposition to both Enlightenment ideas of rationality as well as a scientific outlook. Additionally, understanding such a complex set of ideas as those labeled under the heading of "magical" or "superstitious" requires a multidisciplinary approach, which has not always been encouraged within academia. However, a failure to understand the areas of modernity that exist apart from scientific rationalism stands as a barrier to a deep understanding of human societies and leads to misunderstandings about essential elements of the modern world ranging from overly-deterministic concepts of "rationality" to a failure to understand how and why magical modes of thought not only survive, but even to thrive. In order to clarify this understudied topic, this volume brings together the analytical abilities of scholars from the fields of philosophy, history, and anthropology, providing a wide-ranging treatment of the contextual nature of rationality and the value and purpose of magical practices. Rather than seeing a sharp division between rational, scientific thinking and irrational, magical thinking, this volume attempts to understand the way in which magical thinking too may be rational - in the sense that it forms part of the lives of agents who are rational beings taking their beliefs and practices to be in accordance with sensible, sound reasoning. The aim, then, is not to defend or to attack magical practices so much as to see them in their context.
Publisher: Inter-Disciplinary Press
Weight: 270 g
Dimensions: 210 x 150 x 15 mm
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