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Recovery of Wonder

Recovery of Wonder: The New Freedom and the Asceticism of Power

Kenneth L. Schmitz
Copyright Date: 2005
Pages: 152
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  • Book Info
    Recovery of Wonder
    Book Description:

    While acknowledging the significant gains modernity and post-modernity offer Western civilization in the areas of liberty and knowledge, Schmitz sees in their arguments a superficiality that does not bite to the bone. In The Recovery of Wonder he proposes we approach the world as a gift in order to regain the sense of wonder Shakespeare so eloquently recognized.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-7262-1
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. Prologue
    (pp. xi-2)

    THE NARRATIVE that follows is not simply a recapitulation of a particular development in the history of Western thought and culture; it is primarily adiagnostic. For it seeks to point out what needs to be rethought at the fundamental levels of our present situation. The critical aspect is not meant to be a complaint, however; my purpose is rather to offer an ontologic of culture that may help to open up new avenues of thought and appreciation. No doubt, we must learn from other cultures; indeed, the ambiguity of the present globalization is not wholly without positive opportunities for...

  4. 1 Where Are the Things of Yesteryear?
    (pp. 3-24)

    I HAVE CHOSEN as my theme an uncommon story about a most common thing. Now, even in these days, every story needs some kind of a hero, and the hero of this story is that most homely of words and realities, theordinary word “thing”and thefamiliar things themselves. Although this seems a modest, even banal, task, hardly worth undertaking, it proves to be daunting. We are so surrounded by things that the effort to look at ordinary things closely is not unlike a fish trying to understand what is meant by water: for the fish, water; for us, things.¹...

  5. 2 The Things of Yesteryear
    (pp. 25-49)

    THE ANCIENTS knew the sad transiency of things. The tragedies placed before the ordinary Greek, with almost unbearable precision, the searing pain of an implacable fate, of vengeful furies and unwavering destiny. Greek society and culture was, indeed, a paean of light,¹ but that light shed its brilliant rays and acquired a piquant intensity against the dark background of a cosmic necessity. That necessity is at work in the epics of Homer and the poems of Hesiod, and we still read the great Greek tragedies of Aeschylus and Sophocles with sorrowful wonder. We acknowledge and respond to the deeply human...

  6. 3 Come, Let Us Talk about the Death of Things
    (pp. 50-79)

    THE LATE MEDIEVAL PERIOD in Western Europe underwent a crisis of the mind. In the late Middle Ages, theological and philosophical reason, exercised with such confidence by St Thomas Aquinas and others a century or two before in the High Middle Ages, withdrew in large measure from the old ways and the old commitment to metaphysics, done more or less in the style of a Platonized Aristotle (thevia antiqua). In its place, a modern way of thought (thevia moderna) struggled to free itself from the grip of what was taken to be an outmoded - indeed, in some...

  7. 4 The Things of Yesteryear and the New Freedom
    (pp. 80-105)

    THE PREVIOUS CHAPTER traced the bleaching out of the density of things, of their depth and internal constitution, as they passed in the modern mind from things to objects to phenomena, the latter even now undergoing further deconstruction by some postmodern philosophers. The first chapter set a recent signpost in this development by quoting Bertrand Russell's relegation of the thing to a mental construction. Of course, there is much that could be said about the further developments after Kant, but with him we have reached a decisive limit-point in our story of the ontological structure of the thing.

    I should...

  8. Epilogue and Envoi
    (pp. 106-128)

    IN THE FOREGOING I have traced the rise and fall of a particular understanding of physical things as it moved frompragmataandchrêmatatoontaand beyond to the recognition ofres; and I have then traced further the gradual bleeding and bleaching out of that understanding into objects and phenomena, the pale ghosts of things, Russell's mental shadows. In the process of modern marginalization, things have lost their interiority. That is not to say that they have lost their insides, for aninsideis not aninterior. In recalling the older notion of immateriality, whereby within physical things...

  9. Index
    (pp. 129-131)