Practices of Wonder: Cross-Disciplinary Perspectives

Paperback
Wonder has often occupied a place of unique importance across a variety of human practices and intellectual activities. At different times and historical periods, it has been hailed as the beginning of philosophy and as the end that philosophy should aspire to pursue; as the motive force of scientific quests and their fruit; as the aim of art and the means art uses to accomplish its aims; and as the religious experience par excellence and the hallmark of a deeper spiritual life. Yet despite the special relationship it has borne to many of our most highly valued intellectual and spiritual practices, wonder remains a neglected and understudied notion. This volume aims to redress this neglect, bringing together a collection of essays drawn from different disciplines to consider the sense of wonder from a number of complementary perspectives. What is wonder? What role has it historically played in philosophy, science, art and aesthetics, and the religious or spiritual life? Can wonder be dangerous? Is wonder an experience in which we should, or indeed could, aspire to dwell? Why, among human experiences, should it be prized?