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What we study

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The main point to be developed—
What persons study differs radically from what they might specialize in. What we study comprises a complex, many-sided compound taking place simultaneously at many levels, attending to many objects, pursuing them through many modes of inquiry and reflection. We seek here to encompass the many forms and modes of study, conducting our inquiries through processes of progressive approximation. Progressive approximation moves from a vague, fuzzy, ill-defined sense of what is at issue through successive levels of ramification, disclosing the diversities and complications in the original concern. We will start with six subparts—expression, maxim, concerns, predicaments, exemplars, and masterworks. These constitute a set of descriptors, each vaguelyrather inclusively, approximating an interesting sort of phenomena. We might add to the set. Together, they are not a full classification, neither a typology nor a taxonomy. For each, we will note how it directs study to a particular sort of human activity and we will find how doing so leads to our identifying further descriptors, pointing our attention to a more clearly defined set of acitivies. And the process can continue through successive levels of awareness.