Culture and Cosmos is a peer-reviewed academic journal in the history of astrology and cultural astronomy published by the Sophia Centre Press in partnership with the Sophia Centre for the Study of Cosmology in Culture, Faculty of Humanitiies and the Performing Arts, at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David

We are currently seeking submissions for future volumes of Culture and Cosmos.

Volume 19

The Meanings of Magic

Mike Harding


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.

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