Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Honesty & Decency

Pangrammatical homologies are isomorphisms that obtain between philosophical and poetic formulae.

These isomorphisms (formal equivalences) are experienced as suffering in so far as they involve belief and desire. Suffering is the formal identity of belief and desire given their substantial differences.

The following formulae are homologous.

Honesty is about beliefs, not facts.

Decency is about desires, not acts.

In an important sense, then, honesty is to science (i.e., the determination of facts) what decency is to politics (i.e., the determination of acts).

Philosophy and poetry, as literary arts, need to be aware of this.

Honesty and decency are varieties of appropriateness. Dishonesty is an inappropriate expression of belief (beliefs are not themselves honest or dishonest: expressions of them are.) Indecency is an inappropriate expression of desire.

Note, however, that neither philosophy nor poetry are essentially "expressive"; that is, a poem should not represent desires, but present emotions. In order to do this, certain constructions (groups of words with determinable effects) may "offend", i.e., be deemed "indecent", but only when construed as expressions and this ultimately implies their misconstrual.

The affective impact of many poems depends on the tension between the expressive misreading and the inexpressive reading [, i.e., the tension between what the poem could possibly represent and what it does actually present.]

By a similar token, philosophers often appear disingenuous in their questioning, i.e., dishonest about their lack of belief in one or another aspect of "reality". Socrates' methodological ignorance, his "irony", is the classical example.

Poets deploy a comparable, indeed, homologous, methodological impotence.

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