Walker Percy, philosopher (1)

This marks the first of a series of extracts from the forthcoming Walker Percy, Philosopher.

Percy: The Wondering Physician-Philosopher

by Richard Gunderman

Percy did not advocate an abandonment of science, but he did see the need for another way of knowing, or at least another means of investigation – one that recognized the possibility of a different kind of truth. There are some insights that cannot be captured in terms of sensory data and therefore prove less immediately apparent. They cannot be weighed or measured or even captured in words. They are best likened to glimpses, perhaps intimations.


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To pursue such truths is not to abandon rationality but to recognize the true subtlety and complexity of the reality we hope to recognize. To apprehend them we need to reset our tuners to a different frequency, one that resembles not a statistic but a narrative. When it comes to such truths, we must set aside our microscopes and CT scanners and behold through a quite different approach to exploration and discovery.