Sunday, July 17, 2005

Poetry and/or Philosophy

Kasey says,

The poetry/philosophy distinction, like most such distinctions, dissolves at various points along a spectrum of overlapping objectives and methodologies. Wittgenstein is perhaps an exemplary case of someone who exhibits considerably equally balanced traits of both species. Various language poets and objectivists and William Wordsworth and Lucretius carry mixed bags as well.

Jonathan says,"I'm not that interested in this particular distinction. That is to say, I'm interested mainly in texts in which this distinction isn't so easy to make."

Taken along with the comments from Jay, Stower and Laura on the post I made just before I took that break, I've got something to think about this week and I'll report back on the weekend.

There is no doubt that I would prefer for there to be two distinct systems of notation, two distinct textual operations, what have you, one called poetry, the other philosophy, and that each would set out specific tasks, define specific professional specialties, etc. I feel the same way about science and politics, for example. It is both a normative and an empirical issue for me. I think people should specialize and I think people largely do specialize. There really are poets and philosophers, politicians and scientists, and there also should be. Individual people may of course do a variety of things, but they do and should do this quite specifically and intentionally. Or that's what I have believed up til now, or thought I was assuming.

I'll be thinking about it, like I say.

1 comment:

Laura Carter said...

As you've mentioned, the boundaries, for the most part, exist, which is why we stretch them. (I'm somewhat of a traditionalist here as well.) Conversations that brush around these issues sometimes hide the inclination to want to assign value to one set over the other, or to show the "flexibility" (double-value) of those who do more than one thing, so to speak. I think it often comes down to a question of usefulness, of readership. Who's reading what, and to what end? Which is ultimately more useful? Do philosophers read poetry? Do poets read philosophy (as has been shown with Wittgenstein, etc.)?