How to believe in fairies

Inquiry 30 (4):337 – 355 (1987)
To believe in fairies is not to believe in rare Lepidoptera or the like, within a basically materialistic context. It is to take folk?stories seriously as accounts of the ?dreamworld?, the realm of conscious experience of which our ?waking world? is only a province, to acknowledge and make real to ourselves the presence of spirits that enter our consciousness as moods of love or alienation, wild joy or anger. In W. B. Yeats's philosophy fairies are the moods and characters of human life, conceived not as alterations in a material being, but as the spiritual rulers of an idealistically conceived world. Yeats follows folklore in making them ambivalent: either the sweet undying voices of nature or the disillusioned destroyers of humane life. His prophecies of a New Age were of a world ruled unknowingly by fairies, spirits invoked by music, poetry, and love, that do not necessarily take much care of ordinary human life. The ?Fairy Faith? described by Yeats and Evans?Wentz is a variety of idealism, and by no means absurd
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DOI 10.1080/00201748708602128
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References found in this work BETA
W. Yeats (1939). A Vision. Philosophical Review 48:239.

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Stephen R. L. Clark (1993). Philosophers and Popular Cosmology. Journal of Applied Philosophy 10 (1):115-122.

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Arthur F. Bentley (1938). Physicists and Fairies. Philosophy of Science 5 (2):132-165.

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