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Why I am interested in Percy

Donavan Hall (

My introduction to the work and thought of Walker Percy came through my friendship with the publisher of the Walker Percy Project, Henry P. Mills. We met in 1991 while we were both in graduate school at Louisiana State University, the institution which continues to act as my own academic home. He introduced me to Percy's ideas about consciousness and language, and since that time, after four years of enjoyable study of Percy's non-fiction works, I am convinced that his triadic model of language escapes all attempts of the application of scientific analysis, i.e. science can never give a full account of the triad. The triad thus has tremendous
implications which impact the discipline and work to reveal its limitations. And I say that as one whose own field of study is experimental physics.

Beyond its ramifications toward the scope of science, I believe the triad is an idea which should not be ignored in the field of Scientific Consciousness Studies either. Many physicists have jumped on board this burgeoning science in an attempt to explain consciousness solely in quantum mechanical terms. If physicists are going to be truly participant in this field, they must be made aware of the problem of the triad--not so that they can attempt a physical account of it, but so that they can sufficiently open their theories to accomodate the actual phenomenon.

My primary interests in Percy, therefore, are his insights into the nature of humanity with respect to science, consciousness and language. Physicists such as Roger Penrose and Henry Stapp have written books which comment on the very topics which Percy felt were important, yet these thinkers fail to give any account to the issues he raises and addresses so well. Being part of the community of physicists, I am very interested in seeing that the word gets out about Percy and the triad for the sake of our discipline's contributions to the collective human effort of knowing and viewing ourselves and the world we live in. Of course, I have also had the
opportunity to enjoy four of Percy's novels and am currently working on a fifth.

Donavan Hall
LSU High Magnetic Field Laboratory
Baton Rouge, LA

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