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Rationality: The Critical View

Rationality: The Critical View

Paperback(Softcover reprint of the original 1st ed. 1987)

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In our papers on the rationality of magic, we distinghuished, for purposes of analysis, three levels of rationality. First and lowest (rationalitYl) the goal­ directed action of an agent with given aims and circumstances, where among his circumstances we included his knowledge and opinions. On this level the magician's treatment of illness by incantation is as rational as any traditional doctor's blood-letting or any modern one's use of anti-biotics. At the second level (rationalitY2) we add the element of rational thinking or thinking which obeys some set of explicit rules, a level which is not found in magic in general, though it is sometimes given to specific details of magical thinking within the magical thought-system. It was the late Sir Edward E. Evans-Pritchard who observed that when considering magic in detail the magician may be as consistent or critical as anyone else; but when considering magic in general, or any system of thought in general, the magician could not be critical or even comprehend the criticism. Evans-Pritchard went even further: he was sceptical as to whether it could be done in a truly consistent manner: one cannot be critical of one's own system, he thought. On this level (rationalitY2) of discussion we have explained (earlier) why we prefer to wed Evans­ Pritchard's view of the magician's capacity for piece-meal rationality to Sir James Frazer's view that magic in general is pseudo-rational because it lacks standards of rational thinking.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9789024734559
Publisher: Springer Netherlands
Publication date: 04/30/1987
Series: Nijhoff International Philosophy Series , #23
Edition description: Softcover reprint of the original 1st ed. 1987
Pages: 480
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.04(d)

Table of Contents

I: Rationality in General.- 1. Seven Desiderata for Rationality.- 2. Arguments for Skepticism.- 3. Skeptical Rationalism.- 4. The Sceptic at Bay.- 5. Esotericism.- 6. Science and the Search for Truth.- 7. Rationality and the Problem of Scientific Traditions.- 8. An Ethic of Cognition.- 9. Methodological Individualism and Institutional Individualism.- 10. Epistemology and Politics.- 11. The Concept of Decision.- 12. Galileo’s Knife.- 13. The Objectivity of Criticism of the Arts.- 14. What is Literature?.- 15. Utopia and the Architect.- II: Rationality and Criticism.- 16. Theories of Rationality.- 17. Rationality and Problem-Solving.- 18. The Choice of Problems and the Limits of Reason.- 19. Rationality and Criticism.- 20. On Explaining Beliefs.- 21. Historicist Relativism and Bootstrap Rationality.- 22. On Two Non-Justificationist Theories.- 23. A Critique of Good Reasons.- III: Rationality and Irrationality.- 24. The Problem of the Rationality of Magic.- 25. Magic and Rationality Again.- 26. A Study in Westernization.- 27. Is Face the Same as Li?.- 28. The Rationality of Dogmatism.- 29. The Rationality of Irrationalism.- For Further Reading.- Sources.- Biographical Sketches.- Name Index.

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