[KB] [Fwd: Re: FW: Where did Burke say this?]

rountrj@uah.edu rountrj at uah.edu
Thu Mar 5 12:33:03 EST 2009

Thanks everyone for the help. It looks like she's barking up the wrong
tree on this one.


---------------------------- Original Message
Subject: Re: [KB] FW: Where did Burke
say this? 
From: "Stan Lindsay" <slindsa at yahoo.com>

Date: Thu, March 5, 2009 11:01 am 
To: "\""
<blakesle at purdue.edu> 
"Kenneth Burke Discussion
List" <kb at purdue.edu> 

I searched my expanded concordance and couldn't find any use
of the terms "delineate," "materiality," or
"symbolization."  That doesn't mean he never used them, but
it adds to the developing conclusion. 
 Stan A. Lindsay,
Department of Communication 
Florida State University 
slindsa at yahoo.com 

From: David Blakesley
<blakesle at purdue.edu> 
To: Kenneth Burke Discussion List
<kb at purdue.edu> 
Sent: Thursday, March 5, 2009 6:15:01 AM 
Subject: Re: [KB] FW: Where did Burke say this? 

The closest
I could find to the passage Clarke mentioned is in "What Are the
Signs of What" in Language as Symbolic Action where Burke talks about
how an infant "receives through its senses the impressions of
nonverbal things" (see p. 362). It's an idea that he repeats in the
Chapin documentary also. Burke mentions there that infant means
"speechless." Burke's discussion actually does sound a lot like
this Schopenhauer idea (nice find Drew!) 


On Wed, Mar 4, 2009 at 10:54 PM, Drew Kopp
<kopp at email.arizona.edu> wrote: 

"If anyone standing
before a beautiful landscape could for a moment be deprived of all
understanding, then for him nothing of the whole view would be left but
the sensation of a very manifold affection of his retina, resembling the
many blobs of different colors on an artist's palette. These are, so to
speak, the raw material from which just a moment previously his
understanding created that intuitive perception. In the first weeks of
life the infant feels with all its senses; it does not intuitively
perceive, does not apprehend; it therefore stares stupidly at the
world" (Schopenhauer _On Vision and Colors_ Payne translation 12).

The use of the word "infant" reminded me of
this passage from Schopenhauer's early text (1818). In any case, the
"Burkean" passage is very Kantian, that is, transcendental,
which invokes a priori conditions (rooted in faculties such as the
"understanding," or "reason," AKA symbolization)
for the possibility of experience (and of any cognition of that
experience). Schopenhauer certainly tried to extend this line of thinking
in his own way, and I imagine Burke was familiar with his
work (though he only makes a passing reference to Schopenhauer in
P&C, and a not so generous one at that), and so in some ways had to
contend with the seductive powers of transcendental reasoning. 
----- Original Message -----

From: Jim Moore 
To: kb at purdue.edu 
Sent: Wednesday, March
04, 2009 8:08 PM 
Subject: [KB] FW: Where did Burke say this? 

kb folks: 

Is the quotation Clarke is trying to locate
actually Burke?  It's hard to 
know out of context but, as is,
it sounds more categorical than I would 
expect when I read "the
sole means by which humans come to know 
materiality."  I think Burke had enough of a sense of humor to

use an example like a baseball bat to the head to refute that bit of

piffle.  The final sentence sounds very Burkean but maybe isn't
I'm curious anyway. 


Date: Wed, 4 Mar 2009
16:05:04 -0600 
From: rountrj at uah.edu 
To: kb at purdue.edu 
Subject: [KB] Where did Burke say this? 

Fellow Burkelers--

I got a request from a fellow scholar trying to locate the
following quotation in Burke (if it's his): 

"believe that symbolization is the sole means by which humans come to
> that materiality. . . . . Prior to symbolization, the
material world looks 
> much like the hazy outlines an infant
might see. It is symbolization . . 
> . which enables humans to
discern, delineate, order, and value reality." 
sounds like P&C to me, but I'm away from my office and unable to
check. Anyone know? 

Clarke Rountree 
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