The Unity of Content and Form in Philosophical Writing: The Perils of Conformity

Overview

In The Unity of Content and Form in Philosophical Writing, Jon Stewart argues that there is a close relation between content and form in philosophical writing. While this might seem obvious at first glance, it is overlooked in the current climate of Anglophone academic philosophy, which, Stewart contends, accepts only a single genre as proper for philosophical expression. Stewart demonstrates the uniformity of today's philosophical writing by contrasting it with that of the ...
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The Unity of Content and Form in Philosophical Writing: The Perils of Conformity

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Overview

In The Unity of Content and Form in Philosophical Writing, Jon Stewart argues that there is a close relation between content and form in philosophical writing. While this might seem obvious at first glance, it is overlooked in the current climate of Anglophone academic philosophy, which, Stewart contends, accepts only a single genre as proper for philosophical expression. Stewart demonstrates the uniformity of today's philosophical writing by contrasting it with that of the past.

Taking specific texts from the history of philosophy and literature as case studies, Stewart shows how the use of genres like dialogues, plays and short stories were an entirely suitable and effective means of presenting and arguing for philosophical positions given the concrete historical and cultural contexts in which they appeared.

Now, Stewart argues, the prevailing intolerance means that the same texts are dismissed as unphilosophical merely due to their form, although their content is, in fact, profoundly philosophical. The book's challenge to current conventions of philosophical is provocative and timely, and will be of great interest to students and scholars of philosophy, literature and history.

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Jon Stewart is Associate Research Professor at the Søren Kierkegaard Research Centre at Copenhagen University, Denmark. A member of the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters, he is coeditor of the Kierkegaard Studies Yearbook; editor of two series on Kierkegaard Research; and author of Kierkegaard and his Contemporaries: The Culture of Golden Age Denmark, and Idealism and Existentialism: Hegel and Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century European Philosophy (Continuum 2010).

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements \ Introduction: The Problem of Philosophical Writing \ 1. The Platonic Dialogue and the Sophists \ 2. Paradox and Oxymoron in Seneca’s Epistulae Morales \ 3. Satire as Philosophy: Erasmus’ Praise of Folly \ 4. The Enlightenment and Religion: Hume’s Dialogues \ 5. Philosophy and Drama: Lessing’s Nathan the Wise \ 6. Kierkegaard’s Use of Genre in the Struggle with German Philosophy \ 7. Borges’ Refutation of Nominalism in ‘Funes the Memorious’: The Short Story as a Philosophical Argument \ 8. Borges’ Refutation of Idealism: A Study of ‘Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius’ \ 9. Language, Conceptual Schemes and Immortality: Borges’ Use of the Short Story as a Philosophical reductio ad absurdum in The Aleph \ 10. Sartre and Existential Theater: Bariona and The Flies \ 11. Philosophy, Literature and Rorty: Concluding Reflections \ Notes \ Bibliography \ Index

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