In a colloquium on “lyric philosophy,” this contribution records the efforts of an analytic philosopher to come to grips with questions that Jan Zwicky, who is both a fine poet and a subtle philosopher, has raised about anglophone analytic philosophy. The essay situates Zwicky between the analytic and Continental traditions in philosophy: like the best analytic philosophers, it is argued, she is enamored of clarity, but, like what is best in the Continental tradition, she demands of philosophy a deeper sense of meaning than philosophical analysts tend to do. It is from this unusual position that Zwicky is said to challenge the dogmas of the analytic tradition. Notable among those treated in this article are the belief that attributing literal meaning to anything but linguistic items is futile, belief in the possibility of distinguishing literal from metaphorical meaning, belief in the supremacy of argument over aphorisms, and belief in the importance of the “reductionist” program, which seeks to understand wholes in terms of their parts.

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