Poetic Philosophy Defended

… Against Analytic Philosophy:

Philosophy is the love of wisdom. Either learned, or applied. One would be naïve to believe that it emerges, at the most crucial points, in an “analytic” way. That error is all too common in the Anglosphere, and this is why most English speaking philosophers tend to be mostly famous because they repeat, rather poorly some ideas they picked up on the continent.

(The mediocrity of English speaking philosophers is directly related to the stronger plutocracy of the Anglosphere. Locke was a slave master, Hobbes repeated the Romans, Smith parroted the French physiocrats, etc. The mediocrity has labelled itself “analytic” philosophy… As if there were philosophers who were not “analytic”…)

The most innovative philosophers used poetry. They had to.

Not Just a Poet. Also A Breakthrough Philosopher, From Love To Hell

Not Just a Poet. Also A Breakthrough Philosopher, From Love To Hell

Gotlob Frege founded analytic philosophy. However his system contained a contradiction, as Bertrand Russell informed him. He corrected that with an even worse mistake.


Analysis is not easy. Too much depends upon too little. It is a form of intellectual fascism: useful sometimes, dangerous always.

Nietzsche knew this, and he smartly abandoned the idea of making a system. Instead he did what one should call “local philosophy”: take an issue, and fire a few wisdom torpedoes.

Nietzsche used poetry. Most philosophers had to use poetry. Those who were too serious all the time end down in the abyss, with Kant, supporting authorities and thus, as Kant did, the slave trade, or the contemporaneous equivalent of it.

What is poetry?

It is the technique of imparting mental images, by appealing to emotions, evocations, half concocted logical assemblages.

This is always how new thinking starts: fuzzy, in pieces, a will to an evocation. Certainly wisdom is part of thinking.

Rabelais explained, five centuries ago, that the thinking of We the People was quite different from the official, hyper-religious one. Rabelais explained that, to help both thinking, per se, and the thinking of We The People, one should speak plainly and also explore, delve, and blossom in the sort of preoccupations, and appeals to the fantastic, that appealed to the People.

Dante had done this two centuries earlier. He was a very serious person: see his representation above, a statue in Firenze. He got exiled from his birthplace, Florence, in reward for thinking correctly about many things (and being one of the leaders of the moderate party).

When il Sommo Poeta (“the Supreme Poet”) put various celebrities, including a pope, in various circles of hell, he was making certainly an impression on wisdom. Why not a Pope in hell, indeed? Is it not what the Cathars had spoken about, earlier?

Dante, Petrarch, and Boccaccio are also called “the three fountains” and “the three crowns”. Fountains and crowns of wisdom.

Petrach climbed Mont Ventoux in Provence (at the time, a very rare exploit), a few years after Buridan did it (showing that influences were circulating).

Rabelais’ point was that the official philosophy, the Catholic religion, was not believed by We The People, who was much more secular, pragmatic, and aware that the dumbed down official philosophy, aka the Catholic Religion, was just an instrument of oppression. So he wrote fantastic tales, which positively enraged the doctors of theology at the Sorbonne (the University). In the end, three philosophers associated to Rabelais were burned alive. Rabelais, a very popular writer, who also a lawyer, a cleric, and a famous professor of medicine, could not be touched.


Mentalities come from systems of thoughts entangled with systems of emotions. A wise mentality has to be wise in both ways. The emotional calculus is less precise than a digital logos, but it is even more powerful, because it is the one which e-motes the other (makes it move).

We cannot think well, if we do not emote well.

A fortiori for wisdom, which is superior thinking, where thinking is unclear.

Sometimes, to improve thinking, one has to quit official thinking. One has to change many things, from causality, to semantics. If one sticks faithfully to official semantics, causality, and “facts”, and one abandons poetry, one is implicitly sticking to established philosophy. One is just a parrot. Parrots are rarely contributing to philosophy.

Patrice Ayme’

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7 Responses to “Poetic Philosophy Defended”

  1. gmax Says:

    Hi Patrice, is that your answer to the latest arrogant, hare brain piece on Scienta Salon? They boasted that philosophy WAS analytic philosophy, and made fun of your argument about causality, in a totally dumb way, because they know no math, and don”t have enough brains to get what you say

    Was there ever a worthy ANALYTIC PHILOSOPHER? GIRLS want to know! I don’t think any of these analytic guys ever wrote anything worthy. Big waste of time.

    That was pathetic. They are trying to shut down the mathematicians, like you, except their pet Matko. The SciSal guy insults mathematicians at every turn. I am never going to comment there. One has to register. Who do they think they are?


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Dear GMax: Please calm down (hahaha). Yes, well I sent them a comment saying that philosophy did not reduce to analytic philosophy. They claimed they “could not see the relevance” with what they wrote, and rejected publication. Amazing.

      Well, I think I am going to explain what this “analytic philosophy” is all about: empire. Tomorrow’ essay, if I find time…


  2. dominique deux Says:

    Poetry is now reduced to a minor art form.
    But it originated in the Greek word “poiein” which means, quite simply and grandly, “to make”.
    A poet was a maker before he became a salon-dwelling parrot.
    Creative thought without poetry is nonsense.


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Dear Dominique:
      Thanks. I needed that. I got a lot of flak from professional philosophers who absolutely view my thesis (also yours, and apparently, not a new observation) that poetical thinking is not just nice, but necessary to create a new mentality, idea, emotion.
      I am going to quote you to my “friends” the analytic philosophers.


  3. zeuslyone Says:

    I’m glad to have stumbled upon this. What do these analytic friends of yours make of Witt’s “Philosophical Investigations”? I feel like anyone that takes it seriously (especially from Cavell’s analysis in “The Claim of Reason”) has to realize the human-all-too-human nature of language and see that there is a way of life expressed in poetry. Furthermore, this means of expression is no more prone to the confusions of language than normal prose. Analytics have a fetish for clarity above all. That clarity of language doesn’t necessarily bring them any closer to truth or wisdom. That’s what they don’t understand.


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Hello Zeuslyone! Sorry I did not react faster, I was off the Internet as my little daughter was sick. Your next comment should go through direct.

      I had a harrowing time with those pseudo-analytic philosophers. Against stupidity, the brains themselves contend in vain… How does one explain to a fool that he condemns something, just because he does not understand it? Especially when he makes a virtue of his own stupidity?

      Liked by 1 person

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