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Alien Phenomenology, or What It's Like to Be a Thing$
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Ian Bogost

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780816678976

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816678976.001.0001

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(p.113) [5] Wonder
Alien Phenomenology, or What It's Like to Be a Thing

Ian Bogost

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter examines the philosophical concept of wonder. Wonder has two senses. For one, it can suggest marvel or awe, the kind one might experience in astonishment or worship. But for another, it can mean puzzlement or logical perplexity. From a philosophical viewpoint, it is tempting to conclude that the second meaning is what Plato and Socrates have in mind: philosophy as a process of reason, through which the mysterious is brought down to earth. This is definitely how most philosophers have understood Socrates’s wonder—especially when it is read through Aristotle, who more explicitly argues that wonder catalyzes understanding. Another well-known appearance of wonder comes from Francis Bacon, who says that wonder is both “the seed of knowledge” and also “broken knowledge.”

Keywords:   wonder, awe, astonishment, logical complexity, Plato, Socrates, philosophy, Aristotle, Francis Bacon

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