THERE IS SUPPOSEDLY a conflict between poets and scientists, artists and rationalists. No doubt there is and will be for a long time to come. In one version this conflict dates back to the Renaissance, when modern science really got going. In another version it goes back to the old dichotomy between Plato and Aristotle, with the poet-philosopher on one side and the maker of definitions on the other. Platonists and Aristotelians oppose each other down the years; mystics and Thomists do battle; and in modern criticism we have debates over imagination versus reason, and intuition versus intellect, or whatever the terms happen to be from time to time.
None of this has ever been very enlightening. It is very much like Tweedledum and Tweedledee. If only we could recognize that this altercation is pure theoretical debate, then we might be able to get somewhere. We must recognize that the so-called quarrel between the rationalists and the intuitionalists (or whatever high-sounding names we want to give them) is not a quarrel between scientists and poets but be