Magic, Science and Religion and the Scope of Rationality
Professor Tambiah is one of the leading anthropologists of the day, particularly known for his penetrating and scholarly studies of Buddhism. In this accessible and illuminating book he deals with the classical opposition of magic with 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 Lévy-Bruhl's philosophical anthropology, which posited a distinction between mystical and logical mentalities. He follows with a wide-ranging and suggestive discussion of rationality and relativism and concludes with a discussion of new thinking in the history and philosophy of science, suggesting fresh perspectives on the classical opposition between science and magic.