Sorcery, or magic, is a conceptual system that asserts the human ability to control the natural world (including events, objects, people, and physical phenomena) through mystical, paranormal, or supernatural means — through, for example, magic words, or an ability to present compelling appearances of fictitious reality.
A Second Reality is such an ersatz reality. The term was coined by Robert Musil to denote a fictitious world imagined to be true by the person creating it, who will then use his construction to mask and thereby “eclipse” genuine, or First Reality.
(From Hegel as Sorcerer: The “Science” of Second Realities and the “Death” of God, by Jean F. Drew)
... where the revealed truth is, by hypothesis, absolute truth, the only way to save philosophy is to show that its teaching is substantially the same as that of revealed religion. (UPE, 29)
Wherever there is a theology, or merely a faith, there are overzealous theologians and believers to preach that pious souls have no use for philosophical knowledge, and the philosophical speculation is basically inconsistent with a sincere religious life. Among those who favour such an attitude , there are some of a rather crude type, but others are very intelligent men, whose speculative power is by no means inferior to their religious zeal. The only difference between such men and true philosophers is that instead of using their reason in behalf of philosophy, they turn their natural ability against it. (UPE, 26-27)
God is great, and high, and almighty; what better proof could be given of these truths than that nature and man are essentially insignificant, low and utterly powerless creatures? A very dangerous method indeed, for in the long run it is bound to hurt both philosophy and religion. In such a case the sequence of doctrines too often runs in the following way: with the best intentions in the world, some theologian suggests, as a philosophically established truth, that God is and does everything, while nature and man are and do nothing; then comes a philosopher who grants the theologian’s success in proving that nature is powerless, by emphasizes his failure to prove that there is a God. Hence the logical conclusion that nature is wholly deprived of reality and intelligibility. This is skepticism, and it cannot be avoided in such cases. Now one can afford to live on philosophical skepticism, so long as it is backed by a positive religious faith; yet even while our faith is there, one still remains a skeptic in philosophy, and were our faith ever to go, what would be left of us but an absolute skeptic? (UPE, 30-31)
Maimonides [Moses ben Maimon, 1135-1204], who with St. Thomas Aquinas is perhaps the most balanced of all mediaeval theologians, has described in a masterly manner the sort of game which those men were playing. ‘It is not our object,’ Maimonides says, ‘to criticize things which are peculiar to either creed [Christians or Muslims]... We merely maintain that ... when they laid down their propositions, [they] did not investigate the real properties of things; first of all they considered what must be the properties of the things which should yield proof for or against a certain creed; and when this was found they asserted that the thing must be endowed with those properties ...’ (Guide for the Perplexed, 109-110; UPE, 32-33)
Accusing their authors of not being interested in the real nature of things would have been a cheap criticism, though a true one. What Maimonides has clearly perceived, with remarkable insight, is that even these men themselves were aware of the fact, and that, in a sense, their whole doctrine was but a toilsome justification of their attitude. (UPE, 33; emphasis mine)
In accordance with this principle [writes Maimonides] they assert that when man is perceived to move a pen, it is not he who has really moved it; the motion produced in the pen is an accident which God created in the pen; the apparent motion of the hand which moves the pen is likewise an accident which God created in the moving hand; but the creative act of God is performed in such a manner that the motion of the hand and the motion of the pen follow each other closely; but the hand does not act and is not the cause of the pen’s motion; for, as they say, an accident cannot pass from one thing to another ... There does not exist anything to which an action could be ascribed; the real agent is God. (GFP 120-126, quoted by Gilson, UPE, 37)
What he proposed can be seen as a modification of occasionalism developed by latter-day Cartesians [such as Malebranche]. Leibniz surmised that there are indefinitely many substances individually ‘programmed’ to act in a predetermined way, each program being coordinated with all the others. This is the pre-established harmony which solved the mind body problem at the cost of declaring any interaction between substances a mere appearance, something which Leibniz accepted. Indeed it was space itself which became an appearance as in his system there was no need for distinguishing inside from outside. True substances were explained as metaphysical points which, Leibniz asserted, are both real and exact — mathematical points being exact but not real and physical ones being real but not exact. (emphasis mine)
With a little less zeal for the glory of God, or rather, with a still greater zeal enlightened by common sense, these men would no doubt have realized that the destruction of causality ultimately meant the destruction of nature, and thereby of science as well as of philosophy. Even when it has laws, a physical world whose laws are not inscribed in the very essence of things is a world without intrinsic necessity or intelligibility, and therefore unfit for rational knowledge. Skepticism always goes hand in hand with such theologies, and it is very bad for philosophy--but is it better for religion?
In one of his best novels [The Blue Cross], G. K. Chesterton introduces a very simple priest who finds out that a man, though clothed as a priest, is not a priest but a common thief; when the man asks him what made him sure that he was not a priest, Father Brown simply answers: ‘You attacked reason. It’s bad theology.' (38-39)