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Unit V Lecture I – March 22.docx

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Western University
Philosophy 2006
Sean Coughlin

Unit V Lecture I – March 22, 2012 Evans-Pritchard Edward Evans-Pritchard  Born in 1902, went to Oxford  Excited by exotic study of different cultures  Evans-Pritchard wanted to know what people believed (their mental lives)—beleifs and ideas not as pre-logical thinking, but as entire systems of thought  Believed it was a mistake to treat the thinking of other societies, of “primitives,” as if they were different from us because they hadn’t got it right, or because their emotions got in the way Witchcraft & The Azande  Distinction between Witchcraft (mangu), and Magic/Sorcery (ngwa)  Similarities: o Neither are likely real o Both have common functions  used to cause harm for private ends o Magic/Sorcery: spells, rites, ideas, traditions, taught o Witchcraft: operates through different channels, but in similar situations  Differences: o Magic/Sorcery: herbal medicine o Witchcraft: results from abominable condition (mangu) Mangu  Mangu is a physical object located in certain people—an oval, blackish swelling/sack containing small objects, about an elbow’s width, in the upper abdomen near the bile tract  Cannot be observed while one is alive  It can be extracted post mortem, and is sometimes hung from a tree bordering a path to the chief’s court  2 Important Physiological Characteristics: o Located in the abdomen, where the breast bones meet o Hereditary trait passed from parent to child, from father to son or from mother to daughter only  “Mechanism” of procreation—two spirits or principles, male and female o If male principle dominates, a son is conceived; If female principle dominates, a daughter is conceived  Witchcraft is associated with nocturnal animals, and witchcraft is especially thought to be active at night  Witchcraft operates by a kind of light which is only visible during the day to witch-doctors and witches, but which others can see at night  Effects: o Spirit of mangu operates while the witch is asleep. It spiritually devours the spirit of its victim. Only a witch knows precisely how it works, but it is “known” to occur. o Witches join together and use ointments to increase their power. Rubbed on bodies, or rubbed on drums to summon other witches. Experienced members preside and instruct novices. o Child witches have a weak force that usually grows as they do; They are not a threat to adults but are sometimes a threat to other children o Eventually, a witch will be killed by vengeance or by another witch or sorcery o Witches may continue to live beyond the grave as evil spirits Universality Witchcraft  Mangu is everywhere—food-gathering, domestic life, com
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