Doing What Comes Naturally: Change, Rhetoric, and the Practice of Theory in Literary and Legal Studies / Edition 1

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More About This Textbook

Overview


In literary theory, the philosophy of law, and the sociology of knowledge, no issue has been more central to current debate than the status of our interpretations. Do they rest on a ground of rationality or are they subjective impositions of a merely personal point of view? In Doing What Comes Naturally, Stanley Fish refuses the dilemma posed by this question and argues that while we can never separate our judgments from the contexts in which they are made, those judgments are nevertheless authoritative and even, in the only way that matters, objective. He thus rejects both the demand for an ahistorical foundation, and the conclusion that in the absence of such a foundation we reside in an indeterminate world. In a succession of provocative and wide-ranging chapters, Fish explores the implications of his position for our understanding of legal, literary, and psychoanalytic interpretation, the nature of professional and institutional culture, and the place of reason in a world that is rhetorical through and through.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"All of Stanley Fish's writing is distinguished by importance of topic, vividness in presentation, and accessibility to the general reader. This welcome collection of his recent essays has all these attributes. There is no better introduction to a host of important contemporary controversies concerning interpretation in both literature and law. Even those most in disagreement with some of his particular arguments will welcome the brio with which they are expressed."—Sanford Levinson

"Nothing that Stanley Fish writes can be ignored. In this latest work, he explodes all our comforting notions of unbiased, uninflected judgment in the pursuit of interpretation."—Annette Kolodny

"Stanley Fish is one of our most interesting, and most philosophically sophisticated, literary theorists. He is at the top of his form in these essays."—Richard Rorty

Booknews
In this collection of wide-ranging, yet bound-by-a-theme essays, Fish argues that while we can never separate our judgments from the contexts in which they are made, those judgments are nevertheless authoritative and even objective. Rejecting both the demand for an ahistorical foundation, and the conclusion that in the absence of such a foundation we reside in an indeterminate world, Fish explores the implications of his position for our understanding of legal, literary, and psychoanalytical interpretation, including the nature of professorial and institutional culture, and the place of reason in the world. A broad yet demanding book, even majesterial. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR booknews.com
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780822309956
  • Publisher: Duke University Press
  • Publication date: 5/28/1989
  • Series: Post-Contemporary Interventions Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 624
  • Product dimensions: 6.07 (w) x 9.24 (h) x 1.49 (d)

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