Whenever I contemplate philosophy or science the convention that I call "name dropping" always evokes my experience of interpersonal drama. Here is my favorite example of name dropping:

When I am ten, eleven, and twelve years old my teacher of Reading Comprehension, Ms. Wexler, instructs the students to decode the meaning of words, phrases, and sentences in context.

When I encode the meaning into words (write the sentence) it evokes my memories of drama. I doubt the reader knows the person Ms. Wexler, but I infer the sentence will evoke the dramatic roles of student and teacher, and if the reader has no experience of drama then there is no means to decode the message that I intend to convey.

Here is another example of name dropping:

To study motion Galileo rolled balls down a smooth incline plane, across a horizontal table, and allowed the ball to fall to the ground in his laboratory, comparing the rolling and falling motion to the motion of a pendulum.

Often I contemplate physical quantities such as position, displacement, elapsed time, velocity, acceleration, and (parabolic) trajectory without evoking this story of Galileo's motion experiment. But it seems that I have learned about these quantities exclusively in the context of drama including stories about scientists like Galileo.

Here is another example of what I call name dropping:

Baruch Spinoza describes an affect as a feeling of desire, pleasure, or pain accompanied by an idea of its cause. He further describes desire as appetite accompanied by consciousness thereof. He describes general sources of cause as the self, other humans, nature, and an abstract God.

I have not read and studied philosophy as a discipline. Spinoza is the only philosopher in my awareness who takes drama seriously. Galileo imitated the ancient Greek pattern of the dialogue to publish his ideas. Besides using the literary device of the dialogue, are there philosophers who attempt to describe the essence of human life as patterns of drama, and who integrate core patterns of drama into their description of philosophy?

Comment - I am aware of Object theories in psychoanalysis. This is an effort to describe drama in which the ego interacts with objects of its experience such as the mother's breast, the mother's role, the father's role, etc. But this is cast in the domain of behavioral pathology rather than in the more philosophical realm of what is fundamental or essential to a human experience.

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    David Loy wrote a book called, "The World Is Made Of Stories", I highly recommend it. You can learn a lot about Nonduality through his books.
    – Scott Rowe
    Commented Apr 28 at 21:15
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    I wonder if Yuval Noah Harari, author of "Sapiens", read "The World is Made Of Stories"? He says of sapiens, "Storytelling is our superpower." I think it is true that God gave us dominion over the earth in the Biblical sense. Even if one is atheist it would be true except replace God with some other supernatural source of cause. The atheist just prefers to tell oneself a different type of story. In my case the philosophical analysis of stories began with high school courses in literature, sociology, and psychology. Continued with college courses in literature and interpretation of the Bible. Commented Apr 28 at 22:17
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    I'd say Galileo and Ms. Wexler are different. The latter is story (or drama) building. The former is more likely to be Proof by Authority. Have you noticed how most physicist's voice changes when they say "Einstein"?
    – Rushi
    Commented Apr 29 at 9:47
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    Søren Kierkegaard starting with his 1841 master's thesis On the Concept of Irony with Continual Reference to Socrates. Commented Apr 29 at 9:50
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    @SystemTheory The idea of humans as storytellers is a common theme among anthropologists. It was the subject of a recent episode of "The History of the Future" on PBS.
    – Barmar
    Commented Apr 29 at 14:59

2 Answers 2


When I read the topic first, I went straight to SEP to look for resources on Drama. As in the theatrical form. Then I read OP's question more closely and am now aware that they are asking about a completely different thing - drama as in "to make a drama out of something", or some kind of emotional excitement or agitation. I'll let my answer stand for anyone who finds the question randomly and is indeed looking for the aforementioned meaning of the word.

That said, the concept of carthasis could almost be related to OP's question, as - while being a theatrical term in the first place - could be taken as using negative emotions ("drama" in the modern sense) and their eventual resolution for the betterment of the audience.

Here are some references from SEP and Wikipedia, from whence you can see whether they list more sources in case you want to dig deeper:

You might glean more readings by entering proper search terms in the SEP search directly ("theater", "drama", and so on and forth).

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    A couple more links, for more "forgotten knowledge": Greek Tragedy, Catharsis Commented Apr 29 at 9:19
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    I have taken them into my list, @JulioDiEgidio. Carthasis is a great concept here, maybe linking the theatrical stuff to OP's question at least a bit.
    – AnoE
    Commented Apr 29 at 9:49
  • Physics can be pretty dramatic. I keep hoping it has an "eventual resolution for the betterment of the audience."
    – Scott Rowe
    Commented Apr 29 at 10:18
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    Dang, aren't you being overly dramatic now, @ScottRowe? :D
    – AnoE
    Commented Apr 29 at 15:00

Drama - is something to remember.

I like the description of human life as a character in the Puppet Show.

You actually have some free will when you are young. You have a chance to show that you are capable of the leading role, or, like the majority of us, you play in the background.

After your role is assigned, the rest of your life tries to push you along to your destiny. At this point, your free choice is mostly: success or failure.

And we tend to remember the drama well because it helped us to get on a path of our destiny.

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    Yes, emotions cause strong memories and associations. People who had lobotomies or other conditions that suppress emotional salience have trouble making decisions, even trivial ones, and they don't learn as easily. Emotions exist for very good reasons! That doesn't mean we need to act on felt emotions though, or avoid emotions.
    – Scott Rowe
    Commented Apr 28 at 21:20

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