Linking perspectives: A role for poetry in philosophical inquiry

Metaphilosophy 53 (2-3):305-318 (2022)
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Abstract

There is a long-standing debate about whether poetry can make a substantive contribution to philosophy with compelling arguments to show that poetry and philosophy involve distinct modes of thought and aims, albeit with similar concerns. This paper argues that reading lyric poetry can play a substantive role in philosophy by helping the philosopher understand how to forge connections with the perspectives of others. The paper takes the view that poetry is not directly philosophical but can play an important role in developing the philosopher's awareness of how perspective shapes beliefs and thought processes. Following Robert Nozick, David Lewis, and Helen Beebee, it argues for the need to broaden our conception of the aims of philosophy beyond aiming for conclusive proof, at the least where philosophical inquiry is focused on questions of value. It then shows how poetry cultivates an intellectual virtue essential to philosophy aimed at uncovering equilibria and collective understanding.

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Karen Simecek
University of Warwick

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References found in this work

Philosophical explanations.Robert Nozick - 1981 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
The View From Nowhere.Thomas Nagel - 1986 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Discrimination and perceptual knowledge.Alvin I. Goldman - 1976 - Journal of Philosophy 73 (November):771-791.
Trust and antitrust.Annette Baier - 1986 - Ethics 96 (2):231-260.

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