From Nature to Experience

Lundin, R. (2007). From Nature to Experience: The American Search for Cultural Authority. Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

Below you will find quotes I found worth noting from Roger Lundin’s book From Nature to Experience.


p. 3 “t primacy f experience became t premise _ t promise f pragmatism, t one genuinely indigenous philosophical movement American has ever produced.”

p. 4 “Within history original intentions often have ironic consequences, Bonhoeffer had come to realize, _ ideals look very different in the ripeness f their maturity than in t freshness f their birth.”

p. 4″I assess history _ comment on culture in this manner b/c I am prompted by a conviction currently out f intellectual favor. + s that ideas have considerable power within history _, to some extent, over its course. As they are transmitted over time _ across space through t artifacts _ labors f culture, ideas enlighten, terrify, _ inspire ppl. They can _ do drive ppl apart, but they also draw them together, across boundaries f race, gender, culture, _ time.”

p. 7 “…enduring importance f t question f authority for t advocates f pragmatism. As a system f thought, + emerged n t late 19th century, when many established sources fauthority were under question or attach, _ throughout its history + has attempted to solve t riddle f t role f authority n cultural life. By what means, if any, + has asked, can t moral life b grounded?

p. 7 “Emerson s t most important figure for my historical argument, but he is perhaps more vital as a hermeneutical key than he s as a causal force.”

p.8 “What I am convinced f, however, s that Nietzsche _ Foucault elaborate ideas that were tacit or latent n romanticism.”

p.9 “W/good justification, many consider biography t quintessential human effort to draw meaning from human experience. B/c they appear to b guided by t premise that experience must generate t standards by wch + s to b assessed, many moder biographies seem vexed _ confused by t limits f that experience.”

p.10 “At t center f my argument, however, lies t work f Barth, t foremost Protestant theologican f t past two centuries. Barth broke upon t European intellectual scene at t close f WWI w/a trenchant critique f t normative authority f experience _ t priority f subjectivity in 19th century theology. Forhalf a century, he argued that our knowledge f God _ t truth must b grounded in God’s own acts f sacrificial self-disclosure, rather than n t vagaries f experience or t mechanics f nature.”

p.11 “In a conversation many years ago, my colleague Mark Noll asked what might have happened if t road to t New World had led through Wittenberg rather than Geneva. How would t narratives _ metaphors f t American experience have been differnt, that s, if t bedrock for t culture had been a Lutheran theolgy f t Cross rather than t covenantal system f Calvinism?”

p.11 “Gadamer may b t most influential hermeneutical thinker f t last century, but his work appears largely at t margins f English studies, despite t brilliant efforts f such scholars as Gerald Bruns _ Joel Weinsheimer to draw him closer to t center.”



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