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Paul Grobstein's picture

Beyond "everthing" and how to get there

Interesting conversation this am with Matts Lemberger, a postbac here, about, among other things, ethics and Thomas Crane and Spinoza.  From which came, in turn, some further thoughts re "What's important is not the certainty of the principles on which a story is built but rather the usefulness of the story itself."  We all have a tendency to want to know how an understanding/story was reached.  So far, so good, there are things to be learned from that.  But we also all have a tendency to go one step further, to evaluate a story in terms of whether how it was gotten to is defensible/justifiable, ie to believe in "method," to reject stories that involve what we believe to be flawed or inadequate methods.  Perhaps that is what Feyerabend was trying to call attention to in Beyond Method (and Sontag in Beyond Interpretation),  the need to acknowledge that methods (formal systems) are themselves limited and so one needs to be able to evaluate stories in and of themselves without prejudging them based on an evaluation of methods.  There is not only no "everything" but also no single way of getting to interesting new places.    One is making it up as one goes along, both what is/can be and also how one gets to the next place. 


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