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Magic, Science and Religion and the Scope of Rationality

Magic, Science and Religion and the Scope of Rationality


Part of Lewis Henry Morgan Lectures

Alfred Harris
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  • Date Published: March 1990
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521376310

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About the Authors
  • Professor Tambiah, one of today's leading anthropologists, is known particularly for his penetrating and scholarly studies of Buddhism. In this accessible and illuminating book he deals with the classical opposition between magic, science and religion. He reviews the great debates in classical Judaism, early Greek science, Renaissance philosophy, the Protestant Reformation, and the scientific revolution, and then reconsiders the three major interpretive approaches to magic in anthropology: the intellectualist and evolutionary theories of Tylor and Frazer, Malinowski's functionalism, and Levy Bruhl's philosophical anthropology, which posited a distinction between mystical and logical mentalities. There follows a wide-ranging and suggestive discussion of rationality and relativism. The book concludes with a discussion of thinking in the history and philosophy of science, which suggests interesting perspectives on the classical opposition between science and magic.

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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 1990
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521376310
    • length: 200 pages
    • dimensions: 230 x 153 x 12 mm
    • weight: 0.33kg
    • contains: 19 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    List of plates
    Foreword Alfred Harris
    1. Magic, science and religion in Western thought: anthropology's intellectual legacy
    2. Anthropology's intellectual legacy (continued)
    3. Sir Edward Tylor versus Bronislaw Malinowski: is magic false science or meaningful performance?
    4. Malinowski's demarcations and his exposition of the magical art
    5. Multiple orderings of reality: the debate initiated by Lévy-Bruhl
    6. Rationality, relativism, the translation and commensurability of cultures
    7. Modern science and its extensions

  • Author

    Stanley J. Tambiah, Harvard University, Massachusetts


    Alfred Harris

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