Philosophical Conceptualization and Literary Art: Inference, Ereignis, and Conceptual Attunement to the Work of Poetic Genius

Philosophical Conceptualization and Literary Art: Inference, Ereignis, and Conceptual Attunement to the Work of Poetic Genius

Philosophical Conceptualization and Literary Art: Inference, Ereignis, and Conceptual Attunement to the Work of Poetic Genius

Philosophical Conceptualization and Literary Art: Inference, Ereignis, and Conceptual Attunement to the Work of Poetic Genius

Synopsis

"At defining junctures in their writings, philosophers as diverse as Hegel, Kierkegaard, Whitehead, Cassirer, and Heidegger demonstrate that they were keenly alive to the visionary authority of the work of artistic genius as an originary stimulus to the philosophical imagination. This book undertakes to make explicit that shared insight. The reader is invited to follow and indeed appropriate ontological, phenomenological, and onto-aesthetic attunements to the poetic work of John Keats, Emily Dickinson, and Wallace Stevens. The inquiry thus aims not only to demonstrate but also to engender a firsthand sense of the energizing and speculative value to philosophical thinking of intermediating conceptual engagements with the visionary work of poetic genius. In sum, this original inquiry uniquely respects the cognitional diversity that distinguishes the revelatory poetic spirit from the discursively speculative spirit, even as it demonstrates their deep affinities and mutual implications in the life of the imaginative intelligence." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

The adage that a book should be read in the spirit that it was writ presupposes that the serious and fair-minded reader needs to determine in each case, so far as possible, the nature of that originating spirit. With this precept in view, let me say that writing this book was fully as much a meditative exercise, “contemplative” in Kant's sense, as it was an argumentative or exegetical endeavor. Let me also say that this essay does not originate in what Gianni Vattimo rightly censures as the “relatively uninteresting, and often entirely vacuous” hermeneutic project “to try to extract philosophical theses from poetry, literature and the figurative arts.” Nor does it reflect any desire to establish some “internal connection between hermeneutics and practical philosophy” through what Karl-Otto Apel would dismiss as a misguided appeal to the “'event' character of understanding.” What is on offer here grows, rather, from what I take to be the intellectual-historical need regularly to demonstrate how the visionary work of art is a seminal inferential power for the philosophical imagination—a phenomenon strikingly evident in such luminaries as Hegel and Kierkegaard, Whitehead and Heidegger. My three core chapters (2, 3, and 4) undertake to demonstrate this thesis in ways that students of philosophy and art, particularly literary art, have either largely failed to develop or have bypassed altogether. the approach—an orientation, really, and not in any critical sense a methodology—involves entertaining concepts, thinking them, as open or modifiable conceptual moods rather than as cognitional templates. (By “conceptual

1. Vattimo, Beyond Interpretation, p. 71. Short titles have been used in the notes for
citing works. Full publication information for the short-title listings can be found in the
bibliography.

2. Apel, “Regulative Ideas or Sense Events?” p. 180.

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