Jun 10, 2015

meaning and knowledge

1. The stranger, therefore, approaches the other group as a newcomer in the true meaning of the term. At best he may be willing and able to share the present and the future with the approached group in vivid and immediate experience; under all circumstances, however, he remains excluded from such experiences of its past. Seen from the point of view of the approached group, he is a man without a history.

2. Every word and every sentence is, to borrow a term of William James, surrounded by 'fringes' connecting them, on the one hand, with past and future elements of the universe of discourse to which they pertain, and surrounding them, on the other hand, with a halo of emotional values and irrational implications which themselves remain ineffable. The fringes are the stuff poetry is made of; they are capable of being set of music but they are not translatable. There are in any language terms with several connotations. They, too, are noted in the dictionary. But, besides these standardized connotations, every element of the speech acquires its special secondary meaning derived from the context of the social environment within which it is used and, in addition, gets a special tinge from the actual occasion in which it is employed.

3. In any culture the highest rank is accorded to one of the three types of knowledge distinguished by [Max Scheler]—knowledge for the sake of domination (Beherrschungswissen), knowledge for the sake of knowing (Bildungswissen), knowledge for the sake of salvation (Heilswissen)—and therewith to one of the three types of men of knowledge: the scientist-technician, the sage, the saint. The social acceptance of this rank order determines the whole structure of the particular culture.
Alfred Schutz, On Phenomenology and Social Relations

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