Since arriving in Fond du Lac, I have been exploring my new setting in my spare time to try and learn more about the people that live here, the spaces it offers, and the resources I will have available to me. This past weekend, I visited several farms in the area that produce some of the products Wisconsin is best known for (cheese, ice cream, and apples). I also attended a Unitarian Universalist Church service and found an independent coffee shop on the town’s Main Street that offers excellent food and friendly service.
Reflecting on the experience made me realize just how stimulating (intellectually, socially, and physically) it is to encounter a new place. It requires a leap into the unknown and a willingness to explore that takes you outside your comfort zone. While it is helpful to have (as I had) a guidebook to the area, a willingness to investigate what is unknown without referring to a manual can sometimes be more satisfying. This satisfaction seems to drive many of the great philosophers, scientists, and intellectuals. While none did what they did on their own, neither did they have a guide that told them where to go and what to do. Instead, they were inspired to seek out something novel beyond the well-worn avenues and various constraints of their time. Several recent articles have commented on how discovery depends upon this personal and social appreciation for what is epistemologically new. I recommend them to anyone interested in reflecting on the experience of discovery:
- Kevin C. Elliott and Daniel J. McKaughan, “How Values in Scientific Discovery and Pursuit Alter Theory Appraisal,” Philosophy of Science, December 2009.
- Ulrike Kistner, “The Discipline of Discovery: Reflections on the Relationship between Internal and External Conditions of Knowledge Formation,” Theoria: A Journal of Social & Political Theory, March 2014.
- Vincent Colapietro , Torjus Midtgarden , and Torill Strand, “Introduction: Peirce and Education: The Conflicting Processes of Learning and Discovery,” Studies in Philosophy and Education, July 2005.
- Francis Brassard, “Ruðer Boškoviæ and the Structure of the Experience of Scientific Discovery,” Cadmus, May 2016.
- Christopher Norris, “Great Philosophy: Discovery, Invention, and the Uses of Error,” International Journal of Philosophical Studies, July 2014.
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