Epistemology of Magic. A transdisciplinary approach to the quest for results in Ars Magica.
Ana Belén González-Pérez has a five year Degree in Philosophy at UNED, Madrid. She also has a DEA (equivalent to a master) in Philosophy of XXth century, with a final work on “The Pragmatism of William James” at the University of Malaga. She has specialized her philosophical research in Philosophy of Science, Pragmatism, and Epistemology. She did a three months research period on Pragmatism in the University of Sheffield. She started and abandoned a Ph.D. in Susan Haack in the University of Málaga.
She has been a student and practitioner of Magic and Astrology for more than fifteen years. She is a writer, with four novels for children published and a historical novel in progress. She teaches Philosophy at the high school level in Spain. She is planning to do a Ph.D. in Western Esotericism to join her passions, Philosophy, Esotericism, and Teaching into an academic career.
The magical theory is based upon the idea of modifying consciousness and the environment through non-causal actions. From an emic perspective, magic works. From an etic perspective, scientific analysis deems magic as refutable. Either we suppose magic and science live in parallel worlds or one of them is wrong.
In this paper, I try to explain why traditional science has no tools to evaluate if magic obtains valuable results, and to outline a pragmatist approximation to the methods of evaluation used by magic. For that purpose, I will mention Marco Pasi’s attempts to define magic. I will also distinguish the subjective from the objective effects of magical work.
With respect to subjective effects, I will mention the current crisis of the psychology attempts for mathematizing its results. I will set the thesis that the human being cannot be seen as a finished creature that is ruled by eternal rules, and this is the source of the problems psychological investigation is facing. From this perspective, magic considers the human being a creature in transition which purpose is precisely the change. I will mention some esoteric authors like Don Webb or Stephen Flowers, and some literary works like “The Neverending Story” by Michael Ende and “Promethea” by Alan Moore.
To deal with the objective effects, I will develop a pragmatist concept of truth that is not limited by the positivist view which considers the only truth is scientific truth. I will define a concept of reality based on the “Innocent Realism” of Susan Haack and the perspective on Parmenides by Peter Kingsley. I will plant some doubts about the existence of eternal laws and the reproducibility of any event. I will mention Hume and Goodman’s paradox.
To conclude, I will formulate my thesis of Magic as the discipline of the Unique Events.