Archaeology of Criticism


Knowing the World

"The shape of our knowledge becomes the shape of our living . . . ." [Parker J. Palmer, To Know as We Are Knowm: A Spirituality of Education 21 (New York: Harper & Row, 1983)]

"What is it that drives us to know more, or to know anything else than what those around us know, those who have always known us and loved us and never thought we would leave or want anything else than what we had between us? For this is a difference at the heart of things, greater than all the variations of man and woman, of childhood and maturity, of race or class or history." [John O'Neill, Making Sense Together: An Introduction to Wild Sociology 3 (New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1994)]

"Our knowledge of the world instructs us first of all that the world is greater than our knowledge of it." [Wendell Berry, Standing By Words 64 (San Francisco: North Point Press, 1983)]

"The subjective experience of awareness is outreaching, always expressing itself, however dimly, in some faith in and wonder about the world that extends beyond itself." [Philip Wheelwright, Metaphor and Reality 28-29 (Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, First Midland Book ed., 1968)]

"How much we pretend to. How little we know, really know for sure. Our little worlds swirl on in mysterious ways. We see, we hear, and we believe. But we believe more than we know. And so we act, act in our little worlds, pretending to know how and why. Yet, more than anything, we are creatures of faith, of various faiths, but all of faith. Whoever we are and whatever we do or fail to do, we build our articles of faith to give us our little worlds in which we can move and do, believing we know, but really only knowing we believe." [Walter Probert, Some Reflections on the Teaching of Jurisprudence, 15 J. Legal Educ. 225, 267 (1963)]

"For all one's conviction that the world should be open to knowing, there are certain forms of knowledge that one fears." [Jerome S. Bruner, On Knowing: Essays for the Left Hand 59 (New York: Atheneum, 1966)]

"We find the sense of life through articulating it. And moderns have become acutely aware of how much sense being there for us depends on our own powers of expression. Discovering here depends on, is interwoven with, inventing. Finding a sense to life depends on framing meaningful expressions which are adequate." [Charles Taylor, Sources of the Self: The Making of the Modern Identity 18 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1989)]

"Often we cannot say what it is that we know. When we try to describe it we find ourselves at a loss, or we produce descriptions that are obviously inappropriate. Our knowing is ordinarily tacit, implicit in our patterns of action and in our feel for the stuff with which we are dealing. It seems right to say that our knowing is in action." [Donald A. Schön, The Reflective Practitioner: How Professionals Think in Action 49 (New York: Basic Books, 1983)]

"[Conversation is] the ultimate context within which knowledge is to be understood." [Richard Rorty, Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature 389 (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1979)]

"Every society seeks to establish a set of meanings through which people can relate themselves to the world. These meanings specify a set of purposes or, like myth and ritual, explain the character of shared experiences, or deal with the transformations of nature through human powers of magic or techne. These meanings are embodied in religion, in culture, and in work." [Daniel Bell, The Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism 146 (New York: Basic Books, 1976)]

"Every society by its own practice of living and by the mode of relatedness, of feelings, and perceiving, develops a system of categories which determines the forms of awareness." [Erich Fromm, Zen Buddhism and Psychoanalysis 99 (New York: Harper Colophon, 1970)]

"The formulation of experience which is contained within the intellectual horizon of an age and a society is determined . . . not so much by events and desires, as by the basic concepts at people's disposal for analyzing and describing adventures to their own understanding." [Susanne K. Langer, Philosophy in a New Key: A Study in the Symbolism of Reason, Rite and Art 6 (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 3rd ed., 1973)]

"Taken as a whole, the cultural apparatus is the lens of mankind through which men see, the medium by which they interpret and report what they see." [Irving Louis Horowitz (ed.), Power, Politics and People: The Collected Essays of C. Wright Mills 406 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1963)]

"It is impossible for us to comprehend what we experience as reality without preexisting concepts, that is, theories we carry that mediate how we apprehend the world. These theories necessarily speak to us in categories, enabling us to interrelate various aspects of our perception. Intellectual imperialists, however, permit their categories to settle into stereotypes--fixed categories that operate as rigid, complete, even dogmatic barriers to critical reassessment. Because stereotypes ‘sum up' the world all too completely for the intellectual imperialist--they are experienced as nature's ‘givens' -- people who engage in stereotypical thinking may be especially blind to the degree to which theory mediates their sense of reality. They may fool themselves into believing that they have achieved unmediated access to the world of raw data, attaining ‘mastery' over their knowledge in a way that feels, but is not detached and disinterested." [Peter M. Shane, Why Are So Many People So Unhappy? Habits of Thought and Resistance to Diversity in Legal Education, 75 Iowa L. Rev. 1033, 1042, 1049 (1990)]

"To those who have eaten the fruit of the tree of psychological knowledge the world can never be the same again." [John Seeley, The Americanization of the Unconscious 406 (New York: International Science Press, 1967)]

"Life is not a thing of knowing only--nay, mere knowledge has properly no place at all save as it becomes the handmaiden of feeling and emotions." [Learned Hand, The Spirit of Liberty: Papers and Addresses 4 (New York: Knopf, 1952)(Irving Dilliard ed.)]

"If we cannot escape the Furies, we shall do well to understand them." [Benjamin Cardozo, The Growth of the Law 26 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1924)]

"What is the 'working theory' which guides our vision, what is the narrow footing upon which we take our stance, without which the world of fact overwhelms us?" [Ernest Becker, Beyond Alienation 27 (New York: George Braziller, 1967)]

"In the artist's recreation of the world we are enabled to see the world." [John Gardner, The Art of Fiction: Notes on Craft for Young Writers 49 (New York: Vintage Books, 1985)]

"At the level of ordinary consciousness the individual man is the center of everything, surrounded on all sides by what he isn't. At the level of practical sense, or civilization, there's a human circumference, a little cultivated world with a human shape, fenced off from the jungle and inside the sea and the sky. But in the imagination anything goes that can be imagined, and the limit of the imagination is a totally human world." [Northrop Frye, The Educated Imagination 29 (Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 1970)]

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