Magic, Alief and Make-Believe

Cavedon-Taylor, Dan (2024). Magic, Alief and Make-Believe. Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism (In press).


Leddington (2016) remains the leading contemporary philosophical account of magic, one that has been relatively unchallenged. In this discussion piece, I have three aims; namely, to (i) criticise Leddington’s attempt to explain the experience of magic in terms of belief-discordant alief; (ii) explore the possibility that much, if not all, of the experience of magic can be explained by mundane belief-discordant perception; and (iii) argue that make-believe is crucial to successful performances of magic in ways Leddington at best overlooks and at worst denies.

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