About Through Wonder
διὰ τὸ θαυμάζειν οἱ ἄνθρωποι καὶ νῦν καὶ τὸ πρῶτον ἤρξαντο φιλοσοφεῖν.
Through wonder men began to philosophize, both now and in the beginning.
-Aristotle, Metaphysics, Book 1, 982b
Socrates also describes the relationship between wonder and philosophy:
μάλα γὰρ φιλοσόφου τοῦτο τὸ πάθος, τὸ θαυμάζειν: οὐ γὰρ ἄλλη ἀρχὴ φιλοσοφίας ἢ αὕτη, καὶ ἔοικεν ὁ τὴν Ἶριν Θαύμαντος ἔκγονον φήσας οὐ κακῶς γενεαλογεῖν.
For this is an experience which is characteristic of a philosopher, this wondering: this is where philosophy begins and nowhere else. And the man who made Iris the child of Thaumas was perhaps no bad genealogist.
-Socrates in the Platonic Dialogue Theaetetus, 155d
Wonder is the beginning of philosophy. As we gaze at the world around us, we wonder about the workings of nature and the workings of humans. Through wonder, we begin to ask questions in search of wisdom. Philosophy, as the love of wisdom, springs from the pursuit of these questions. This blog does not pretend to provide the answers but hopes to offer musings which will direct us toward wisdom. However, Plato’s use of wonder and Aristotle’s use of wonder most likely have different connotations. Aristotle’s notion of wonder implies a scientific curiosity which will only be satisfied when the answer is found. But Plato has a broader notion of wonder: it is not a problem to be solved, but a mystery to be enjoyed. The further we pursue philosophy the more we will discover such mysteries in which we can take great delight.
The banner image is a picture taken on the author’s trip to the Volcano National Park on The Big Island in Hawaii. The flowers are from the ōhiʻa lehua tree which are able to grow despite the volcanic ash around them. These bright red flowers seem to offer hope in the face of the black and lifeless environment caused by the destruction of a volcanic eruption. Wisdom is like this red flower: rare, hard to find, durable, and bright in the face of darkness.
About the Author
Hannah Lyn Venable has a PhD in Philosophy from the University of Dallas and wrote her dissertation on Madness in Merleau-Ponty and Foucault. She has taught at the University of Dallas, Texas State University and Trinity University and is now a new assistant professor of philosophy at the University of Mary. Her interests are in ethics, existentialism, philosophy of religion, phenomenology, post-modernism, aesthetics and anything related to the human experience.
Her book, Madness in Experience and History: Merleau-Ponty’s Phenomenology and Foucault’s Archaeology, will be published by Routledge in the Psychology and the Other Series by the end of the year. She has also published several articles including “The Carnival of the Mad: Foucault’s Window into the Origin of Psychology” in Foucault Studies, “The Weight of Bodily Presence in Art and Liturgy” in Religions, “At the Opening of Madness: An Exploration of the Nonrational in Merleau-Ponty, Foucault and Kierkegaard” in Journal of Speculative Philosophy and “Situating Melancholy in Kierkegaard’s The Concept of Anxiety” in Philosophy & Theology. She will also be publishing a chapter in the upcoming collection, Normality, Abnormality and Pathology in Merleau-Ponty, entitled, “The Need for Merleau-Ponty in Foucault’s Account of the Abnormal.”
Her undergraduate work was done at the University of Texas where she received degrees in Philosophy and Music (piano). She also received a Master of Arts in Christian Thought from Reformed Theological Seminary and Master of Arts in Philosophy at the University of Auckland where she wrote her thesis on Existential Aesthetics.
You will find an updated CV here.
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