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Interpreting NatureThe Emerging Field of Environmental Hermeneutics$
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Forrest Clingerman, Brian Treanor, Martin Drenthen, and David Utsler

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780823254255

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823254255.001.0001

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Narrative and Nature

Narrative and Nature

Appreciating and Understanding the Nonhuman World

(p.181) Chapter 9 Narrative and Nature
Interpreting Nature

Brian Treanor

Fordham University Press

Although the power of narrative is often underestimated, stories play a powerful role in determining both what we value and in shaping our understanding. Because narrative gives us an “as if” experience of things, it can substitute for direct experience of wild places and so induce us to care for them. Similarly, narrative supports the theoretical understanding of science, helping us to see more truly— not by replacing scientific insight with narrative fancy, but by supplementing science with the insights of experience and imagination. For example, while science can give us facts about reality, it has nothing to say about meaning or value. Direct experience does not give us a complete account of how we come to value things, and acts and data do not give us a complete account of all aspects of reality. Both need to be supplemented by narrative insights.

Keywords:   “as if” experience, narrative, Philosophical hermeneutics, science, experience, Imagination, Environmental philosophy

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