Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE (www.oxfordhandbooks.com). © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 17 December 2018

Abstract and Keywords

Children doubt that magic can happen in everyday life, but they recognize that magic can take place in fairy stories. Indeed, when presented with a novel story, children use the presence or absence of magic in the story to assess its status. If the story includes no magic, children accept it as an historical narrative about real people, but if the story includes magic, children judge it to be a fairy story about fictional characters. Religious narratives straddle this simple dichotomy. Religious narratives include miraculous events but children do not treat them as fictional. An explanation is offered for this paradoxical combination; that is, children's skepticism about magic and their credulity toward miracles. The explanation of this paradox underlines an important theoretical point about the imagination: It is used to represent events regarded as true as well as those regarded as fictional.

Keywords: credulity, fairy stories, magic, miracles, skepticism

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.