The role of magician and philosopher in society : the archetype of wonder and its cognitive implications in modern life


Philosophy and Magic share a common root that goes back twenty thousand years to the role of the shaman in the village and his attempt to enact control over the surrounding forces of nature through ritual performance. During Greek and Roman times, philosophy leaves magic and religion as it turns towards language in order to bring understanding. In modern times, philosophy is mired in language games and has lost the practical power it once held to transform lives. In the first section of this thesis we will look at the history of magic and philosophy and how the two have changed over time. In the second section, we will examine the feeling of wonder and how being left speechless after witnessing a magic effect calls back to a simpler time in our lives before the existence of language. Throughout the thesis, we will examine the psychological, anthropological, archetypal, neurological and linguistic links that arise between the two professions. Finally, if magic and philosophy are still to be relevant today, we will look at the role that magic plays in the psyche of an educated society and we will consider how-by learning to think like magicians-philosophers and the practice of philosophy can be stronger and more useful in today's modern world.


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Thesis Completion



Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)


College of Arts and Humanities

Degree Program



Arts -- Dissertations, Academic;Dissertations, Academic -- Arts







Access Status

Open Access

Length of Campus-only Access


Document Type

Honors in the Major Thesis

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