On the Seeming Incompatibility Between Poetry and Philosophy
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Poetry as a mode of philosophizing can reasonably be considered a failure when making the following moves: from the experientially particular to general content (by means of abstract thought); from ordinary pre-reflective thinking (a contingent thought someone happened to have) to philosophically rigorous thought (which is rationally grounded); from domestic conceptions (connections of thought made by individual readers) to public conceptions (why these connections are relevant to our general, collective understanding). These problems arise when trying to meet the three main requirements of philosophical inquiry: generality, rationality, and justification. In order to show that the thinking involved in reading a poem is akin to the thinking involved in philosophical inquiry, poetry must make the right kind of moves in thought and meet these fundamental philosophical demands. In this article, the author offers a defence of the view that poetry can make a significant and valuable contribution to philosophical inquiry when faced with these three problems.
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