Publications

Now available: Seven Brief Lessons on Magic, by Paul Tyson

Now out from Cascade BooksSeven Brief Lessons on Magic, by Paul Tyson.

Is magic real? Could anything be real that can’t be quantified or scientifically investigated? Are qualities like love, beauty, and goodness really just about hormones and survival? Are strangely immaterial things, like thought and personhood, fully explainable in scientific terms? Does nature itself have any intrinsic value, mysterious presence, or transcendent horizon? Once we ask these questions, the answer is pretty obvious: of course science can’t give us a complete picture of reality. Science is very good at what it is good at, but highly important aspects of human meaning are simply outside of science’s knowledge range. So how might we better relate scientific facts to qualitative mysteries? How might we integrate our powerful factual knowledge with wisdom about the higher meaning of things? This book defines magic as the real qualities and mysteries of the world that science just can’t grasp. It looks at how we came to put magic in the box of subjective make-believe. It explores how we might get it out of that box and back into our understanding of reality.

[Purchase: Wipf & Stock]

Endorsements & Reviews

“This brief and clearly argued book brilliantly picks apart modern confusions about science and the supposed end of magic. In distinguishing the different senses of the term, Tyson casts a great deal of light on the roles that ‘magic’ in its different senses has played in our history and is still inevitably playing in our contemporary world.” — Charles Taylor, McGill University

“If you thought that magic had been banished by science, think again. In this entertaining and thought-provoking little book, Paul Tyson challenges us to re-think modern assumptions about the disenchantment of the world and the capacity of science to explain everything. Magic, Tyson argues, is everywhere—in our modern technologies, in the fictional worlds of Narnia, the Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and, most importantly, in the love, beauty, and goodness that make life worth living. This is a critical, thoughtful, hopeful, and life-affirming book.” — Peter Harrison, University of Queensland

[Purchase: Wipf & Stock]

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(Sculpture by Sara Cunningham-Bell)

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