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The Meanings of Magic
This paper explores at how the word 'magic' may be used, drawing mainly on the work of Wittgenstein. Beginning with his critique of Frazer's The Golden Bough, the attitudes of science, spirituality and psychotherapy towards magic and ritual and astrology are discussed, and a key passage in The Tractatus is used to challenge orthodox concepts of causality and explanation. The idea of 'real magic' as opposed to trickery is addressed via Heidegger's paper On the Essence of Truth, and the paper closes with a reflection on a current scientific suggestion that factors previously considered to be permanent might prove to be variable with time.
Citation: Mike Harding, 'The Meanings of Magic', Celestial Magic, special issue of Culture and Cosmos, Vol. 19, nos. 1 and 2, 2015, pp. 9-23.