Publication Date


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First Advisor

Rhum, Michael R.

Legacy Department

Department of Anthropology


When Sir James Frazer unraveled the intricacies of magic in the early twentieth century/ he defined the sympathetic processes of contagion and homeopathy in magical acts. Almost contemporaneously, Lucien Levy-Bruhl analyzed native thinking in primitive cultures and discovered differences of associative and logical thought. Logical and associative thought processes/ originally thought to be culture dependent and exclusive, are now known to co-exist worldwide. The sympathetic processes of Frazer's magical acts further show themselves to be analogous to associative thinking through metaphoric and metonymic cognition that allows us to negotiate our everyday life. From these associative processes, we also extrapolate an external reality that is different from a purely empirical external reality. It is through the perceived reality—the metaphoric - and metonymic interpretations and re-projections of external empirical reality that we make sense of our world. The extrapolations from empirical reality and subsequent re-projections of external reality are demonstrated through analysis of Dinka religious experience, healing practices of Inupiaq Eskimos, and Native American Vision Quest. The metaphoric and metonymic cognitive processes as a part of daily life are further demonstrated both in western and non-western culture; relevant theories in cognitive science are presented.


Includes bibliographical references.


20 pages




Northern Illinois University

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