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Narrative, Religion and Science

Paperback|Mar 2002
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$86.96

An increasing number of contemporary scientists, philosophers and theologians downplay their professional authority and describe their work as simply 'telling stories about the world'. If this is so, Stephen Prickett argues, literary criticism can (and should) be applied to all...


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An increasing number of contemporary scientists, philosophers and theologians downplay their professional authority and describe their work as simply 'telling stories about the world'. If this is so, Stephen Prickett argues, literary criticism can (and should) be applied to all these fields. Such new-found modesty is not necessarily postmodernist scepticism towards all grand narratives, but it often conceals a widespread confusion and naivety about what 'telling stories', 'description' or 'narrative', actually involves. While postmodernists define 'narrative' in opposition to the experimental 'knowledge' of science (Lyotard), some scientists insist that science is itself story-telling (Gould); certain philosophers and theologians even see all knowledge simply as stories created by language (Rorty; Cupitt). Yet story telling is neither innocent nor empty-handed. Prickett argues that since the eighteenth century there have been only two possible ways of understanding the world* the fundamentalist, and the ironic.
-Publisher

An increasing number of contemporary scientists, philosophers and theologians downplay their professional authority and describe their work as simply "telling stories about the world". If this is so, literary criticism can and should be applied to all these fields. Yet story telling is neither innocent nor empty-handed. Register, rhetoric, and imagery all manipulate in their own ways. Above all, irony emerges as the natural mode of our modern fragmented culture. Since the eighteenth century there have been only two possible ways of understanding the world--the fundamentalist and the ironic.
-Publisher

PRODUCT DETAIL

Stephen Prickett (Ed)

Stephen Prickett is Professor of English at Duke University, North Carolina. Prior to this he was Regius Professor of English Language and Literature at the University of Glasgow. He took his BA at Cambridge (Trinity Hall) and subsequently did postgraduate work in Oxford (University College) and back in Cambridge, where he took his Ph.D. in 1968. Previous appointments include the Chair of English at the Australian National University in Canberra (1983 89), and teaching posts at the Universities of Sussex (England) (1967 82), Minnesota (1979 80), and Smith College, Massachusetts (USA) (1970 71)

  • Introduction: Arthur Dent, Screwtape, And The Mysteries Of Story Telling; 1. Post-modernism, Grand Narratives, And Just-so Stories; 2. Newton And Kissinger: Science As Irony?; 3. Learning To Say 'i': Literature And Subjectivity; 4. Reconstructing Religion: Fragmentation, Typology And Symbolism; 5. The Ache In The Missing Limb: Language, Truth, And Presence; 6. Twentieth-century Fundamentalisms: Theology, Truth, And Irony; 7. Science And Religion: Language, Metaphor, And Consilience; Concluding Observational Postscript: The Tomb Of Napoleon; Bibliography.

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