Classical Quarterly 50 (1):94-112 (2000)

Stephen Halliwell
University of St. Andrews
According to Aristotle, Metaphysics 2.3, 995a7–8, there are people who will take seriously the arguments of a speaker only if a poet can be cited as a ‘witness’ in support of them. Aristotle's passing observation sharply reminds us that Greek philosophy had developed within, and was surrounded by, a culture which extensively valued the authority of the poetic word and the poet's ‘voice’ from which it emanated. The currency of ideas, values, and images disseminated through familiarity with poetry had always been a force with which philosophy, in its various manifestations, needed to reckon. As a mode of thought and discourse which proclaimed its aspiration to wisdom, philosophy could not easily eschew some degree of dialogue with an art whose practitioners had traditionally been ranked prominently among the sophoi. Even Aristotle, who keeps aloof from the assumption that philosophical contentions stand in need of poetic support, cites and quotes poetry regularly in his own writings in ways which indicate the influence on him of a prevailing mentality that regarded poets and philosophers as pursuers, up to a point at least, of a common wisdom.
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Aristotle Poetics. [REVIEW]D. W. Lucas - 1968 - The Classical Review 18 (2):168-169.

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