a1 University of London, King's College
Still waters, they tell us, run deep; as for philosophy, one who aims at anything like depth cannot always hope to move briskly. Let it excuse my beginning ploddingly, with familiar distinctions. We commonly distinguish what we call mere fact-gathering, however copious, from anything like real understanding; and again, superficial mental quickness from deeper processes, processes, to repeat the truism, that may run comparatively slowly. Philosophers have begun to distinguish too, but barely more than begun, understanding as a performance—I mean an overt linguistic or other behavioural performance—from something else that sometimes happens inwardly. Something happened, presumably, to the Wedding Guest, who on visible evidence only ‘went as one who has been stunned’, but also, presumably, understood.