The fragmentary pre-socratic record abounds in aphorisms, Nietszche wrote poetic & prophetic prose, the continental tradition is highly literary - to the point where it is incomprehensible to the uninitiated (I would even suggest Badious use of Set Theory (a rational mode of thinking par-excellance) is being used in a literary & poetic fashion (despite appearances)).

This shows, I think that poetry & philosophy, far from being mutually exclusive, can illuminate each other. However, it is possible that philosophy phrased in this way can be trasnlated into a normative discursive style; but is this true for all such, or are in some cases something essential is lost?

Has anyone discussed the relationship between Poetry & Philosophy?

EDIT:In Shakespeares Midsummers Night Dream he has Theseus say:

The poet's eye, in fine frenzy rolling,

Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven;

And as imagination bodies forth

The forms of things unknown, the poet's pen

Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing

A local habitation and a name

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    That philosophy has been infiltrated by a bunch of wishy-washy poets? Or that philosophers were short on good ideas and started rhyming to fill space? Actually, wouldn't aesthetics include poetry and be a branch of philosophy?
    – Benjamin
    Jun 13, 2012 at 2:25
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    @aBathologist: The same goes for any mathematical textbook. :). I think you're right, however I'm not sure how to make this more precise, yet; in which case I think I'll change the question to ask who has looked at these question. I think that was what hoping for anyway. Jun 19, 2012 at 8:03
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    Could you scope this a bit more reasonably? "Has anybody discussed the relationship between philosophy and poetry?" is incredibly broad. Also the question in the headline doesn't really reflect the specific content of the concern
    – Joseph Weissman
    Jun 19, 2012 at 14:21
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    @weissman: I was looking for suggestions of reading matter. I know for example that Plato wrote a tract on Poetics, I'm assuming that he wrote on the form but not on any connection with philosophy itself. I'll think about it a bit more, and try to break/focus the question further. Jun 19, 2012 at 14:55
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    As @Benjamin says, there are very many discussions of poetry in aesthetics. You might want to take a look at these search results and work from there.
    – Schiphol
    Jun 19, 2012 at 14:56

1 Answer 1


It seems that Heidegger, in his later texts, turns to poetical writing as the most adequate form of language to "unveil the world", in this way, poetic language would fulfill his work that started in a philosophical ground. I'm not sure whether he considers this as a merging of philosophy and poetry, but I think this is a good reference for the subject.

Here an article about this http://aporia.byu.edu/pdfs/rogers-poetic_uncovering_in_heidegger.pdf

  • thanks for this. I've also found that 'In Language and Death, Agamben raises the question of the relation of philosophy and poetry by asking whether poetry allows a different experience of language than that of the “unspeakable experience of Voice” that grounds philosophy' Sep 25, 2012 at 7:13

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