Page 3 of 3 FirstFirst 123
Results 31 to 35 of 35

Thread: Literature: a form of Philosophy?

  1. #31
    Registered User Heteronym's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Portugal
    Posts
    352
    I currently believe that philosophy and literature are at cross purposes. The philosopher uses reason and logic to build a system to find answers, eliminate contradictions in human existence, and explain the world.

    Writers do the opposite. They ask questions, relish in the confusion, strangeness and contradictions of the world, celebrate ambiguity, and seldom give answers. A novel by Dostoyevsky, for instance, contains characters that espouse his beliefs, but also characters that espouse contrary beliefs. And if Raskolnikov is supposed to represent everything that Dostoyevsky is against, why does the author feel so much compassion for him?

    The world is strange, confusing and complicated, and literature reflects the world.

  2. #32
    A Student
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    CA
    Posts
    499
    Blog Entries
    2
    Writing presents ideas. The ideas are either a reflection or contradiction of what the author believes. A system of ideas presented with its accuracy and flaws forms a philosophy. One's writing is then philosophy, whether emphasized or implicit.

    Another way of looking at this: literature has ideas: ideas are philosophies: literature is philosophy. Makes sense to me.

  3. #33
    Registered User Heteronym's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Portugal
    Posts
    352
    A philosophical system does not accept its own flaws. It hides, ignores, downplays them. Once a philosopher sets down a system of thought, he spends more time defending it against detractors, regurgitating it in new forms, than formulating new ideas. It's the nature of philosophers: they can't accept they're wrong.

    Another aspect of philosophy is that it must be clear - let's leave aside the fact that most philosophers aren't particularly good writers. But they want people to agree with their ideas.

    Now a writer, by the use of characters, conflict, literary devices, plots, etc., rejects clarity. Let's think of Madame Bovary: is adultery wrong? Is Emma wrong for having affairs? Or is her dull, loving husband to blame for her seeking adventures in other men? Is it wrong to seek happiness outside marriage or must one be loyal to it? Flaubert raises many questions but doesn't bother to answer them. The novel ends and the questions float in the air, mocking us because there aren't sure answers for them. Because that's the tragedy of the human condition.

    In the hands of a philosopher, however, there wouldn't be a shortage of answers: of course adultery is immoral! Of course it's not! It infringes on sacred vows! Wrong, adultery is reasonable without certain circumstances! Man is free to do what he wants! No, man must abide by social rules! And so go the philosophers, arguing, arguing, arguing, thinking they know great truths, while the writer sits above them enjoying the silly spectacle they make.

  4. #34
    Artist and Bibliophile stlukesguild's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    The USA... or thereabouts
    Posts
    6,076
    Blog Entries
    78
    Writers... ask questions, relish in the confusion, strangeness and contradictions of the world, celebrate ambiguity, and seldom give answers. A novel by Dostoyevsky, for instance, contains characters that espouse his beliefs, but also characters that espouse contrary beliefs...

    Exactly! This is one of the reasons I have trouble with Freudian criticism which often attempts to discern the author from the text... completely ignoring the fact that we rarely know who the author most resembles or empathizes with. Which character is Shakespeare? All? None?
    Beware of the man with just one book. -Ovid
    The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them.- Mark Twain
    My Blog: Of Delicious Recoil
    http://stlukesguild.tumblr.com/

  5. #35
    Registered User Heteronym's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Portugal
    Posts
    352
    My views are founded on two books: Mikhail Bakhtin's The Problems of Dostoyevsky; and Milan Kundera's The Art of the Novel. Bakhtin especially gives some insight about the question of writers hiding their voices in favor of letting the characters' voices emerge with autonomy of thought. His thoughts on the concept of the polyphonic novel rearranged my conception of the novel.

Page 3 of 3 FirstFirst 123

Similar Threads

  1. Literature and Philosophy cannot be separated
    By rex_yuan in forum General Literature
    Replies: 29
    Last Post: 10-06-2014, 05:09 PM
  2. Defining literature?
    By Yeroptok in forum General Literature
    Replies: 84
    Last Post: 11-25-2012, 11:46 AM
  3. On Why Do We Read Literature???????????
    By litlenani in forum General Literature
    Replies: 22
    Last Post: 06-24-2009, 05:40 PM
  4. Literature as Philosophy in Motion
    By Sitaram in forum General Literature
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 12-20-2004, 03:40 AM
  5. Philosophy in Modern and Postmodern literature
    By AbdoRinbo in forum General Literature
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 07-08-2003, 05:29 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •