Magic, Science, Religion

Magic, Science, Religion

Tambiah, Stanley Jeyaraja. Magic, Science, Religion, and the Scope of Rationality / S. J. Tambiah. - Cambridge ; New York ; Melbourne : Cambridge University Press, 1990. - xii, 187 p. : il. - (The Lewis Henry Morgan Lectures). - ISBN 0-521-37631-9. - ISBN 978-0-521-37631-0. 

Most anthropologists who have attempted to demarcate and contrast magic, science and religion as cross-cultural categories appear to have been unaware of the rich and long intellectual history of Western thought which framed their own specialized writings. In this book, Professor Tambiah reexamines magic, science and religion within the framework of this history, including the Judaic religion, early Greek science, Renaissance philosophy, the Protestant Reformation, and the European scientific revolution in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. He establishes the influence of this legacy on anthropological discourse, and then considers the contents and implications of three interpretive approaches: the intellectualist and evolutionary theories of Tylor and Frazer, Malinowski’s functionalism, and Levy-Bruhl’s distinction between mystical and logical mentalities. This is followed by a discussion of rationality, relativism, and the translation and commensurability of cultures, which are all key issues in contemporary anthropology and philosophy today. The book ends with an assessment of the implications of recent developments in the history and philosophy of science for the discussion of magic, science and religion.

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