The Ancient Quarrel Between Philosophy and Poetry

The Ancient Quarrel Between Philosophy and Poetry

by Raymond Barfield


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From its beginnings, philosophy's language, concepts, and imaginative growth have been heavily influenced by poetry and poets. Drawing on the work of a wide range of thinkers throughout the history of western philosophy, Raymond Barfield explores the pervasiveness of poetry's impact on philosophy and, conversely, how philosophy has sometimes resisted or denied poetry's influence. Although some thinkers, like Giambatista Vico and Nietzsche, praised the wisdom of poets, and saw poetry and philosophy as mutually beneficial pursuits, others resented, diminished or eliminated the importance of poetry in philosophy. Beginning with the famous the passage in Plato's Republic in which Socrates exiles the poets from the city, this book traces the history of the ancient quarrel between philosophy and poetry through the works of thinkers in the Western tradition ranging from Plato to the work of the contemporary thinker Mikhail Bakhtin. This new perspective provides an illuminating way of reading philosophy that can be extended and applied to other philosophers.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781107677845
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 01/02/2014
Pages: 290
Product dimensions: 5.98(w) x 9.02(h) x 0.67(d)

About the Author

Raymond Barfield is currently an associate professor in the Schools of Divinity, Nursing and Medicine at Duke University.

Table of Contents

1. Socrates, Plato and the invention of the ancient quarrel; 2. Aristotle, poetry and ethics; 3. Plotinus, Augustine and strange sweetness; 4. Boethius, Dionysius and the forms; 5. Thomas, and some Thomists; 6. Vico's new science; 7. Kant and his students on the genius of nature; 8. Hegel and the owl of Minerva; 9. Kierkegaard: a poet, alas; 10. Dilthey: poetry and the escape from metaphysics; 11. Nietzsche, Heidegger and the saving power of poetry; 12. Mikhail Bakhtin and novelistic consciousness.

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