As part of an exchange of views on what Jan Zwicky calls “lyric philosophy,” this contribution suggests a way of understanding it that brings out affinities between it and the standard discursive model of philosophy with which she is dissatisfied. Good discursive philosophy is based on perplexity and plausibility: on finding that protophilosophical experiences give rise to philosophical puzzlement, and then finding that some ways of responding to such puzzlement are more compelling than others. This philosophical mode involves the same conceptual “gestalt” that Zwicky identifies with lyric philosophy: being struck by how certain combinations of experiences and ideas feel inherently problematic and grasping how certain combinations of ideas that attempt to address these problems hang together while others do not. Moreover, the thought and language in which discursive philosophical reflection is conducted are frequently affective and couched in deeply metaphorical terms. Thus, this essay concludes, the mode of making sense that is supposed to distinguish lyric philosophy from its discursive counterpart is one that is central to the discursive model of philosophy as well.
John Koethe; Perplexity and Plausibility: On Philosophy, Lyrical and Discursive. Common Knowledge 1 January 2014; 20 (1): 55–61. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/0961754X-2374871
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