Argument and imagination are often interdependent. The Aesthetics of Argument is concerned with how this relationship may bear on argument's concern with truth, not just persuasion, and with the enhancement of understanding such interdependence may bring. The rationality of argument, conceived as the advancement of reasons for or against a claim, is not simply a matter of deductive validity. Whether arguments are relevant, have force, or look foolish cannot always be assessed in these terms. Martin Warner presents a series of (...) case studies which explore how analogy, metaphor, narrative, image, and symbol can be used in different ways to frame one domain in terms of another, and how criteria drawn from the study of imaginative literature may have a bearing on their truth-aptness. (shrink)
Warner here puts forward a much broader discussion of rationality than that which underlies today's polarization between analytic and continental philosophy. Through a series of case-studies the author explores ancient conceptions of dialectic and rhetoric in relation to the positive role given to sentiment or "the heart" by Pascal, Hume, and Nietzsche. These studies point to an understanding of philosophy which undercuts fashionable disputes and which helps to reaffirm a range of ideas long marginalized by the dominance of the geometric (...) model of philosophical argument. (shrink)
Presents a penetrating study of Eliot's Four Quartets. Begins with an account of the intellectual and personal context for Eliot's mature work, explaining how his influences shaped his mind, then discusses Eliot's own personal circumstances and the contemporary relevance of his work a half century after it appeared, offering comparisons with Samuel Beckett. A central motif of analysis of "Burnt Norton" is Augustine's discussion of time in relation to subjective memory. Other literary references brought to bear on the Four Quartets (...) include work by Yeats, Milton, and St. John of the Cross, as well as the Bible and the Bhagavad-Gita. Warner is a senior lecturer in philosophy at the University of Warwick, UK. Annotation copyrighted by Book News, Inc., Portland, OR. (shrink)
‘There is a kind of eloquence’, maintained St Augustine, which is manifestly inspired by God. Biblical writers have spoken with this kind of eloquence. … ‘On the other hand’ they have uttered some passages with a beneficial and salutary obscurity, to exercise and, in a sense, to polish the minds of their readers, to break down aversions and spur on the zeal of those who are anxious to learn, as well as to conceal the meaning from the minds of the (...) impious. (shrink)
Analytic philosophy's characteristic downgrading of literature's putative concern with truth, and envisaging of its interest to philosophy merely in terms of material for logical analysis, was prefigured by Frege. The initial plausibility of this approach was in part a function of certain preferred models of philosophy as analysis which were themselves deeply flawed. An exploration of their weaknesses in the light of more adequate theories of language, truth and logic enables us to give proper weight both to rhetorical and imaginative (...) aspects of philosophical discourse, and to the capacity of works of literature to bear on issues of truth—and thereby contribute to philosophical understanding. (shrink)
Plato's rhetorical gesture invoking a 'quarrel' between philosophy and poetry points to a deep problem in our conception of rational discourse, often obscured or displaced in the history of philosophy's relations with imaginative literature, especially with respect to analytic philosophy in the first half of the twentieth century. Recent developments have helped focus attention on the overlap between philosophy and literature, which the contemporary retreat from philosophy's 'narrative turn' does little to undermine. Further work in the philosophy of language, the (...) logic of the imagination, and the relations between dialectic and rhetoric promise to throw light on that ancient problem. (shrink)
Many classic philosophical debates converge on the twin questions ‘What is man?’ and ‘What is his place in nature?’, in the sense that taking up a position in those debates normally commits one to a certain range of answers to these questions. Such answers typically lie near the centre of one's web of belief, deeply entrenched in the structure of one's concepts, and thus remain remarkably resistant to the standard techniques of confirmation and refutation.
When I studied the Scriptures then I did not feel as I am writing about them now. They seemed to me unworthy of comparison with the grand style of Cicero. As for the absurdities which used to offend me in Scripture, … I now looked for their meanings in the depth of mystery.
When I studied the Scriptures then I did not feel as I am writing about them now. They seemed to me unworthy of comparison with the grand style of Cicero . As for the absurdities which used to offend me in Scripture, … I now looked for their meanings in the depth of mystery.
In this lively collection ten philosophers tackle the notoriously elusive issues raised by religious discourse in a series of linked debates. The debates focus on reason and faith; the logic of mysticism; the meaning of the word 'God'; language, biblical interpretation and worship; and religion and ethics. Through contemporary philosophical analysis it is possible to shed new light on teh status and language of religion, and in many ways the contributors to Religion and Philosophy break new ground in this perennially (...) controversial field. The collection is addressed to philosophers, theologians and anyone with a general intellectual interest in religion. Certainly it will be a valuable addition to the reading list of all teachers or students of the philosophy of religion. (shrink)
Some of the notorious interpretive puzzles of the Phaedrus arise from reading it in terms of a static version of mimesis; hence, the concerns about its apparent failure to enact its own norms and the status of its own self-commentaries. However, if the dialogue is read in the light of the more dynamic model of a perfectionist paideia — that is, Plato’s portrayal of Socrates as attempting to woo Phaedrus to philosophy is itself a rhetorical attempt to woo the appropriate (...) reader — then many of the puzzles fall into place as part of the rhetorical strategy. The apparent lack of formal unity arises out of Phaedrus’ own deficiencies; the written dialogue turns out precisely not to fall foul of the criticisms of writing that it contains, and its self-commentaries can be given their appropriate ironic weight. On this reading, a Platonic conception of philosophy that embodies yet transcends the dialectical is given persuasive expression. (shrink)
W. B. Yeats's great celebration of the human imagination, ‘Byzantium’, of which these are the first and last verses, is concerned with the tension, reconciliation and movement between two types of sensibility, the sensual and the spiritual, that of natural life and that of transcendent symbol, in this poem imaged as ‘the fury and the mire of human veins’ and as ‘bird or golden handiwork . . . of changeless metal’. In it, as Richard Ellmann puts it, ‘the teeming images, (...) “that dolphin-torn, that gong-tormented sea”, flood up to the marbles of Byzantium itself, where they are at last brought under control by “the golden smithies of the Emperor”’ – himself, inter alia , an image of poet. (shrink)