Sympathy with intelligence, exhuberant knowledge

For what it’s worth, Thoreau might seem more acceptable to classroom philosophy if we decided that he provides an epistemology, one we could herald, with only a touch of tongue-in-cheek, as a “Theory of Exuberant Knowledge.” 

Let’s say we take the idea, from “Walking” of knowledge taking a back seat to “Sympathy with Intelligence” – being intelligently sympathetic and sympathetic to the intelligence or translucent intelligibility of things – as a just warning against dry learning or mere argument or haughty neglect of the particular.  As Thoreau puts it in his Journal, knowledge must be visceral, we want facts that are “warm, moist, incarnated.”  “A man has not seen a thing who has not felt it.”  Knowing is intimacy, is immersion, is sympathy.

                 Thoreau’s Journal, 2/23/60, many editions

11 comments on “Sympathy with intelligence, exhuberant knowledge

  1. dmfant says:

    don’t know if it will sell in the academy but it’s very close to my own clinical practice (as marginalized as it is in this age of cognitive-behavioral-health-management), maybe there is some hope for such cultivations in the worlds of ‘continuing-ed’, education for grown-ups if you will. I also think of Dewey’s hope for his lab-school along such lines.

  2. efmooney says:

    Thanks, Dirk — these two clips are great !!

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