Wayne C. Booth

 

Selected Quotations:

 

It is an intellectual disaster of a very serious kind if any student of Liberal Arts I comes to the end of the year believing that there is no such thing as an error of fact, or that every man’s intellectual structure is as good as every other man’s, or that there is, finally, no such thing as validity or truth.  (787)

 

An educated man must be skeptical, and in one sense skeptical about everything; when he stops being skeptical, he stops thinking and is no longer an educated man. (788)

 

The four logical possibilities when we are faced with rival claims to truth are: one will prove right and the others all wrong (dogmatism); all must be untenable, known in advance to be so because truth is unattainable (skepticism); each will prove partly right and partly wrong (eclecticism); more than one (but not all) will prove true, when looked at closely, yielding a plurality of truths (pluralism).  (788)

 

I would guess that more than half of the literary criticism published would not be published if the authors took proper care with this simple, precritical, task – a task that earlier critics called the grammatical task: recovering the meanings at the indisputable level. (790)

 

I an suggesting that our view of “Araby’” like our views of nature in Einstein’s analogy, are permanently doomed to partiality.  Each view may still be,, in its own terms, completely valid, . . . each may appear wrong to anyone proceeding from any of the other perspectives. (790)

 

“Araby,” despite its commonsensical core of fact, is not an entity that defines itself aside from the purposes and views – more or less conscious and systematic – of those who do the defining.  “Araby” is not only what Joyce made but what other men made of it; each of us constitutes our own “Araby.” (794)

 

And what I am working toward as the concluding section of this lecture is a kind of pluralism – the notion that every reality, every subject, can be and will be validly grasped in more than one way depending on the purposes and intellectual systems of the viewers. (794)

 

It does not mean that every view is valid, or that there are not differences of validity or usefulness among different views. (794)

 

Pluralism does not mean that one is tongue-tied in the face of sloppy work within any perspective. . . . It (judging between different perspectives) is made, once the elementary level is passed, on the basis of  adequacy to the possibilities of the particular system, when held up against the potentialities offered to the system by the particular piece of reality examined. (795)