Introduction: Outside all reason - magic, sorcery and epistemology in anthropology

Kapferer, Bruce (2003) Introduction: Outside all reason - magic, sorcery and epistemology in anthropology. In: Kapferer, Bruce, (ed.) Beyond rationalism: rethinking magic, witchcraft and sorcery. Berghahn Books, New York, USA, pp. 1-30.

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Abstract

[Extract] Magic, sorcery and witchcraft are at the epistemological centre of anthropology. They embed matters at the heart of the definition of modern anthropology, and the critical issues that they raise are of enduring significance for the discipline. But the questions these phenomena highlight expand beyond mere disciplinary or scholastic interest. They point to matters of deep existential concern in a general quest for an understanding of the human forces engaged in the htfman construction of lived realities. Anthropology in the embracing Kantian sense is involved. The phenomena that are deemed to be magic and sorcery [including all that which such scholars as Durkheim (1915) and Mauss (1972) would include under the label 'profane') project towards the far shores of human possibility and potentiality. The human profundities to which they might lead are already there in the imagery and metaphors of thinkers, both abstract and concretely pragmatic, worldwide. Within European traditions the world of the magician and the sorcerer is routinely evoked to explore the continuing crisis that is faced by humankind, more recently, for example, in the works of Dante, Goethe and Nietzsche right through to the most contemporary philosophers and social commentators. The essays in these pages contend with some of the overarching existential issues towards which a concern with the magical must extend.

Item ID: 7318
Item Type: Book Chapter (Research - B1)
Keywords: anthropology; magic; sorcery; witchcraft
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ISBN: 1-57181-418-3
Date Deposited: 04 Feb 2010 02:57
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1601 Anthropology > 160104 Social and Cultural Anthropology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970117 Expanding Knowledge in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences @ 100%
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