friendliness Comte writes about these. He writes that in the ‘theological or fictional state’, ‘supernatural ideas served to link the small number of isolated ideas which then constituted science’: ‘observed facts are explained in the light of invented facts’. In other words, Comte regards what anthropology would later discuss as mythology as an early form of science, and indeed argues that this state is ‘necessarily that of any science at its cradle. However imperfect it may be, it is at that time the only way of connecting facts’, that is, the only way of reasoning. By
Tönnies defines sociology as the study of the ‘social nature’ of people, in particular ‘the sentiments and motives which draw people to each other, keep them together, and induce them to joint action’ (3). He emphasizes that common existence is made possible by ‘the products of human thought’ that result from these sentiments and motives. These ‘find their consummation in such important forms as community, state, and church, which are often felt to be realities or even supernatural beings’. These fundamentals of Tönnies’s sociology – widely shared by the founding
origins in European thought and culture are usually located at the end of the fourteenth century, part of the Renaissance, and defined by: a belief in man as essentially endowed with reason; a belief that man is autonomous; a belief in the idea that there is a universal ethics, which can be discovered through the use of reason; a belief in social progress through mankind’s rational endeavour (I retain the use of ‘man’ and ‘mankind’ to reflect the language of humanism). Conversely, humanism is antagonistic to religious belief and belief in the supernatural. Humanism
aesthetic, since it does not defer to Enlightenment reason and rationality, and does not feel bound to separate fact from fiction in order to arrive at Truth.
Magical realism revels in a carnival approach to the world, embracing one or more of myth, folklore, the supernatural, the inexplicable, the irrational and the surreal. The reason it is termed magical realism is not just down to the placement of ‘magic’ and ‘real’ on the same ontological plane, but also because the techniques of realist writing are used to describe events, objects and characters which are of a
psychoanalytic and deconstructionist approaches, demonstrated the difficulties of retrieving the voice, or subjectivity, of sati , or widow sacrifice, in the face of Western epistemologies, ideologies, and historiographies. Spivak’s critique can be illustrated through reference to another of Guha’s essays, ‘The Prose of Counter-Insurgency’. In this essay, Guha explores the 1855 rebellion of the Santals, and in the process encounters ‘the agency of supernatural beings’. 34 Those leading the peasants explained the rebellion ‘as an act carried out at the behest of the Santal
. Rather, the fiction of the black president set out to imagine a different contemporary reality, and in this, far more importantly, film and television helped to create the conditions that enabled Obama’s election by creating a world in which such an event was possible. It is not necessary to ascribe simple causation or supernatural prophetic powers to appreciate the powerful formative role of the screen. Indeed, to argue otherwise is to incorrectly relegate film, television, and popular culture’s social significance.
Maybe it still sounds fanciful to suggest that
inherent in the Faith since the beginning were now presenting themselves for discussion with renewed vigour. How powerful, exactly, was the Devil? What limits, if any, did God place on his power, and how independent of God was he? Could he work miracles in the proper sense of the word? If not, why not: and how could one tell the difference between supernatural or preternatural marvels accomplished by the saints and those by worshippers of evil spirits? It is just this kind of question Institoris addresses straight away in the first question of Part I when he reproduces
Constitution which would define the EU’s competencies. A new constitutional settlement would aim to define the balance of power between national democracies and the main institutions of the EU. 69
The individual to drive forward such a task was also waiting in the wings: Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, the principal éminence grise of radical integration, emerged almost supernaturally as head of the Convention on the European Constitution. The selection procedure that catapulted him to the forefront of European affairs, after twenty-two years out of frontline politics, was a
. There may be differences of opinion as to where the causes are to be located – biology, genetics, environment, psychology – but the underlying belief is that events are explicable according to deterministic laws that observers – be they scientists or novelists – can uncover. You may think that the reliance on cause and effect explanations hardly requires scientific authority to validate it, but it needs to be remembered that the nineteenth century is an era when religious authority can still countermand everyday experience with a supernatural explanation.
sexuality, marriage, and childhood, as well as magic, myth, and ritual. The importance of magic, for example, is central to Thomas’s 1971 study of theological and supernatural belief in early modern England. 15 Thomas was criticized by the anthropologist Hildred Geertz for failing to approach the topic of magic in non-judgemental terms as a coherent and complex system of belief. 16 While Geertz’s critique drew attention to the assumptions that historians may make about what constitutes rational or irrational behaviour in the past, Religion and the Decline in Magic