Philosophy and literature is the literary treatment of philosophers and philosophical themes, and the philosophical treatment of issues raised by literature. We have always found the works like Plato's dialogues and Dostoevsky's novels fascinating. Thus, both philosophy and literature has played significant effect on the ethics of humanity. Often it is found as one complementing the other and augmenting other’s gaps. As such’ few intriguing questions come forward; whether Literature and Philosophy somehow related or not. Can philosophy and literature, in such combinations, achieve more than the sum of the two parts? Can philosophical approaches account for the specific power of literary works, even those that are not overtly philosophical? In addition, can literary devices contribute to philosophical goals—in a way, perhaps, that nothing else could? To answers to some of these questions are closely connected with one's views as to the general problem whether philosophy itself is, primarily, a form of literature. That is to say, these views will tend to influence one's convictions as to the literary status of philosophy tout court and the philosophical status of literature. Of course, no strict correlation exists. For instance, the view that philosophy itself is a form of literature will generally favour the belief that in poems, plays or novels philosophical ideas may be stated or developed in about the same sense as in standard philosophical texts. Yet one may feel that philosophy, even if it is a form of literature, is an extraordinary form and that ideas are stated and developed here in a way different from that in poems, plays or novels. History
The question of the relation between philosophy and literature is long discussed. Ever since the beginning of speculative thought, the relationship between literature and philosophy has been so close that one can term it as parental relation. Although PLATO condemns literature as the copy of a copy, Aristotle reasserts literature’s value, assigns a moral effect to it, even a certain philosophical dimension, and at the same time subjects it to speculative discourse. Later philosophers in the Western tradition continue the conversation, never without considerable ambivalence, but usually with a lively sense of the ethical insight that literature may possibly offer. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, David Hume, Friedrich Nietzsche, Martin Heidegger—all these major Western philosophers, and many others, have contributed to keeping the conversation alive. Only in twentieth-century Anglo-American philosophy, the relationship between the two disciplines been virtually neglected. Analytic philosophers sought to write in a nonliterary style and rarely discussed the contribution of literature to understanding; literary authors and writers about literature felt, with much justice, that philosophy offered little that was relevant to their concerns. Today, all of this has changed. Young philosophers working on ethics are likely to have a keen interest in works of literature—not just as grab bags of examples, but also as sources of ethical insight in their own right. Particularly in the part of the discipline known as "virtue ethics," concern with notions of character, ethical vision, and virtue, as well as a preoccupation with relationships of love and friendship, lead almost every participant in the subfield to turn to literature. Meanwhile, writers about literature are far more likely to discuss the ideas of moral philosophers than they were before. Conferences that bring critics and literary historians and theorists together with moral philosophers are reasonably common, and joint dissertation committees are very common indeed. The Literature in Light of Philosophy
As mentioned above, for nearly two thousand years, literature has been regarded as the ancilla philosophiae, as the servant of philosophy. Thus although it shows the close relation between the two discipline it also...
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