Sir Michael Anthony Eardley Dummett (1925- )
For my first text in English on this blog, I have chosen to speak about Sir Michael Dummett’s findings on Tarot origin. Of course, I dispute his conclusions – for me, Dummett has yet to come up with a theory – altough I can understand that most people may be swayed by his alluring narrative.
Here is an extract from the page I wrote on the leading occidental philosopher who took an interest, for better or for worse, in Tarot history.
(…) »It is Mircea Eliade which illustrates best the dangers which threaten the amateur historians or the scholars. Obviously, it is the trap into which Dummett fell when he considered the question of Tarot origins. ¨Every document, even contemporary, is veiled a long as one is not able to decipher it by integrating it in a system of significances. A tool, prehistoric or contemporary, can reveal only its technological intentionnality: all that its producer or his owners felt, dreamed, imagined, hoped in relation to it escapes us. It is at least necessary to test us to the nonmaterial values of the tools (…). If not, this semantic opacity can impose to us a completely erroneous design of the history of the culture. We risk, for example, to confuse the appearance of a belief with the date with which it is clearly attested for the first time.¨
In short, even if it is attested that the first specimens of tarocchi appeared in the Italy of the Renaissance, in no case is this sufficient to issue that it is the period and the place where the game was created. » (…)
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