The Wanderer

As I walked through the wilderness of this world …

A question about a fish

with 5 comments

Greetings, bleaders. I have a question and I am hoping that someone among the brainiacs might be able to help me. I am trying to remember the name of the surgeon/doctor/philosopher who taught his students to observe by requiring them to look at, if I remember rightly, a fish for an extended period of time and describe it. When they thought they had completed the task he would commend them and tell them to go on looking at the fish. This would be repeated until his students learned to look, to observe, to consider with depth and insight.

Now, do I have this story right, and can anyone tell me the name of the man involved? Answers in the comments, if you have any, please! Thanks in advance.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Tuesday 20 November 2012 at 13:26

Posted in General

5 Responses

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  1. Jeremy, you’ll find the answer in John Piper’s book, ‘Think’, Appendix 2, where he uses that story as an example of what he is writing about. According to Piper, the professor was Professor Agassiz, the fish was a haemulon and the student was Samuel H. Scudder.

    Robert Strivens

    Tuesday 20 November 2012 at 13:48

    • Brilliant – that’s the chap. Who would have thought that a tennis player would be so bright? Abundant thanks. (It was the Ezra Pound version of the story that I remembered.)

      Jeremy Walker

      Tuesday 20 November 2012 at 14:00

  2. Hi Jeremy, Alex from Sweden here. Here also is a link with a short article describing the experience and basic philosophy. Hope is it of some benefit :-)

    http://philosophy.lander.edu/intro/introbook2.1/x426.html

    Alexandra Aalto

    Thursday 22 November 2012 at 08:33

    • “Facts are stupid things,” he would say, “until brought into connection with some general law.”

      Thank God Almighty, that the ‘general law’ to which we subscribe all ‘facts of life’ is derived from that book which we call, ‘The Holy Written Word of God!’ What a privilege!

      Alexandra Aalto

      Thursday 22 November 2012 at 08:46


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