marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,

philosophical observations about magic and science

Was reflecting on a work that had operational magic and steam trains and other forms of technological advancement.  It even had a sect that rejected the use of magic as laziness; one member boasts of how they improved train engines by dedicating themselves to non-magical means.

Says the pondering thoughts, would they really distinguish like that?

It was, after all, a world in which magic was a regular course in school, and a routine in household chores.  I can see the contrast building up where magic involves trafficking with spirits -- L. Jagi Lamplighter has something like this in the Prospero's Daughter trilogy, where knowledge of magic is suppressed to encourage mankind to use science instead because it means they don't traffic with things they are better off leaving off alone.

Or a world in which it is an esoteric art.  But alchemy was an esoteric art, and that has not prevented its becoming the ever respectable chemistry.

Indeed, it would take advanced logic and reasoning about things even to split it off -- like the form of religion that never gets a name until another religion competes with it, but is woven into the warp of life.  Soap making was not a form of chemistry, though I learned about the reactions in high school chemistry.  So too a woman would not distinguish her lullaby -- a charm to keep off demons -- from anything else she did to keep the baby safe and secure.  It would blur into the religion too.  And when your natural philosophy came to hive things off, why would it be in opposition to other things?  There are works where biology and physics -- or rather the engineering based on them -- are treated as in opposition, owing to the natural living things vs. cold metal, but those are few besides the ones where both fall under Science.
Tags: world-building: magic (effects)

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