Thursday, May 26, 2011


The basic idea behind this blog is that there is a fearful symmetry in experience, and that its axis constitutes the difference between philosophy and poetry. Philosophy is conceptual notation (Begriffsschrift). Poetry is emotional notation (Ergriffsschrift).

Consider the following formula, which just occurred to me:

Only an emotion can justify an action, which will always only be motivated by desire.

Well, all these "poetical" terms—emotion, justification (justice), action, motive, desire—have "philosophical" complements (homologues)—concept, verification (truth), perception, sense, belief. The corresponding philosophical formula, then, can be produced simply by substitution:

Only a concept can verify a perception, which will always be sensitized by belief.

There's something a bit forced and odd about it, which I may or may not eventually be able to fix. But the idea that a perception is (merely) "sensitized" by belief and not (of course) actually verified by it would not have occurred to me unassisted by the artifice of a pan-grammar. Desire motivates action but does not justify it. It is the intensity that an emotion brings to experience that ultimately lets us speak of the "justice" implicit in an action. Likewise, it is here suggested, a belief makes a perception "sensitive" but does not yet let us speak of "truth". Rather, we need the clarity of a concept to do so.

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