Title

The Experience of Magic

Publication Date

Summer 2016

Journal

The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism

Volume

74

Issue

3

First Page

253

Last Page

264

Abstract

Despite its enduring popularity, theatrical magic remains all but ignored by art critics, art historians, and philosophers. This is unfortunate, since magic offers a unique and distinctively intellectual aesthetic experience and raises a host of interesting philosophical questions. Thus, this article initiates a philosophical investigation of the experience of magic. Section I dispels two widespread misconceptions about the nature of magic and discusses the sort of depiction it requires. Section II asks, “What cognitive attitude is involved in the experience of magic?” and criticizes three candidate replies; Section III then argues that Tamar Szabo Gendler’s notion of “belief-discordant alief” holds the key to a correct answer. Finally, Section IV develops an account of the experience of magic and explores some of its consequences. The result is a philosophically rich view of the experience of magic that opens new avenues for inquiry and is relevant to core issues in contemporary aesthetics.

DOI

10.1111/jaac.12290

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