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Magic and the MindMechanisms, Functions, and Development of Magical Thinking and Behavior$
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Eugene Subbotsky

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195393873

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195393873.001.0001

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Magical Reality

Magical Reality

(p.3) 1 Magical Reality
Magic and the Mind

Eugene Subbotsky

Oxford University Press

Chapter 1 (“Magical Reality”) covers conceptual issues. Despite the popular view that the concept of “real magic” is a contradiction in terms, the point is made that not only can the concept of “true magic” be given a strict definition but also that truly magical events do indeed happen, at least in the domains of children's play, children's and adult's fantasy, dreams, and art. The conceptual difference between magic and science is discussed. It is argued that, despite the fact that modern science achieved remarkable results in producing effects that in the previous centuries would be viewed as magical (transmitting visual images and sounds remotely, flying in the air and space), there is still a fundamental difference between these effects and true magic. Various instances of magical events (such as “coming to life magic,” “nonpermanence magic,” and “sympathetic magic”) are analyzed. The generic concepts of magic—the “mind-over-matter” and “mind-over-mind”—are defined. The relationship between concepts of magic and religion is discussed. The concepts of institutionalized and noninstitutionalized magical beliefs are introduced. The state of the problem is discussed, and the aim of this book is defined. The chapter finishes with hypotheses and predictions.

Keywords:   magic, science, religion, magical thinking, magical beliefs, subconsciousness

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