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What Is the Philosophy of Poetry?

From the book Aesthetics Today
Peter Lamarque


It is only relatively recently that analytical philosophers have given special focus to poetry as a topic in its own right in aesthetics or as a semi-autonomous branch of the philosophy of literature. A new field is taking shape: the so-called Philosophy of Poetry. But do analytical philosophers have anything new to say on the topic? What kinds of issues or problems attract their attention? Rather than simply surveying the field, the paper looks at some emerging concerns- about form & content, experience, interpretation, expression, and poetic truth-and suggests that poetry poses some quite serious challenges to standard conceptions of meaning and truth. On the current showing it seems likely that studying the practices and norms of poetry will force a reconceiving of the powers or limits of language that could itself promote fresh understanding in core areas of philosophy. So bringing analytical philosophy to poetry can yield benefits in both directions, offering insights as well as challenges.

© 2017 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Munich/Boston