Episode notes

In this episode, Giulia Luvisotto and I interview Michael Hunter on The Decline of Magic. Taking its cue from Keith Thomas's Religion and the Decline of Magic, Hunter goes into the details of why magic declined in the late 17th century. Hunter introduces us to the world of the orthodox thinkers and the free-thinkers (or the Wits!) and the intellectual battlefield on which they exchanged withering treatises about the existence of supernatural phenomena and natural causation. We talk about the rise of the New Science, the struggle of Baconianism against the rising star of Newtonianism, and how the ultimate triumph of Newtonianism played a role in the decline of magic. We also look at the role played by doctors and the way that Cartesianism paved the way for the claim that superstitious beliefs were merely an ailment of the mind th ... 

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historysciencesuperstitionrobert boylemichael huntermagicnewtonianismnew sciencenewtonianwits