Thursday, 14 January 2010

Poetry, history and philosophy

In contrast to Plato, who spoke of the ancient quarrel between philosophy and poetry, Aristotle makes poetry closer to philosophy than to history. Where history deals with the particular and contingent, poetry deals with the probable or necessary - and so it approaches philosophy which, according to Aristotle, deals with the necessary.
The essential difference [between history and poetry] is that one tells us what happened and the other the sort of thing that would happen. That is why poetry is at once more like philosophy and more worth while than history. (Poetics ch. 9, 1451a - 1451b)
What is interesting is that Gadamer thought it fit to look to art as a way of conceptualizing the approach to truth in the human sciences - including, I suppose, history.

But keep in mind also Lonergan's distinction between human studies and human sciences. History would be part of the former, while sociology part of the latter.

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