Tuesday, June 15, 2021


Two Lessons

Thomas S. Kuhn (1922-1996), The Essential Tension (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1977), p. xii (footnote omitted):
Briefly stated, those lessons are two. First, there are many ways to read a text, and the ones most accessible to a modern are often inappropriate when applied to the past. Second, that plasticity of texts does not place all ways of reading on a par, for some of them (ultimately, one hopes, only one) possess a plausibility and coherence absent from others. Trying to transmit such lessons to students, I offer them a maxim: When reading the works of an important thinker, look first for the apparent absurdities in the text and ask yourself how a sensible person could have written them. When you find an answer, I continue, when those passages make sense, then you may find that more central passages, ones you previously thought you understood, have changed their meaning.

<< Home
Newer›  ‹Older

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?