“Sketches of landscapes”: On philosophical poems

Cogent Arts & Humanities. 2016;3(1) DOI 10.1080/23311983.2015.1123081


Journal Homepage

Journal Title: Cogent Arts & Humanities

ISSN: 2331-1983 (Online)

Publisher: Taylor & Francis Group

LCC Subject Category: Fine Arts: Arts in general | General Works: History of scholarship and learning. The humanities

Country of publisher: United Kingdom

Language of fulltext: English

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Troy Jollimore (California State University)


Blind peer review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 11 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

Is it possible to do philosophy by writing lyric poems—or reading them? How can a poem be genuinely philosophical, and can a philosophical poem do something that straightforward philosophical writing cannot do? Some have suggested that poems and philosophical writings have different aims and are subject to different and conflicting demands, which would render it difficult if not impossible to write a successful philosophical poem. I suggest that while this is true with respect to the aims of the standard academic philosophical journal essay, there is a different way of doing philosophical work—one that pays close attention to actual thought processes and that dramatizes the interplay of ideas—that lyric poetry is quite well suited to take on. Such work may be significant not only in helping us better understand human consciousness, but in letting us grasp insights and aspects of our experience of the world which the philosophical demand for simple, unified theories might otherwise tempt us to minimize or ignore altogether.