Philosophy and the Art of Writing  book cover
1st Edition

Philosophy and the Art of Writing

ISBN 9780367354909
Published May 11, 2022 by Routledge
144 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Philosophy and literature enjoy a close, complex relationship. Elucidating the connections between these two fields, this book examines the ways philosophy deploys literary means to advance its practice, particularly as a way of life that extends beyond literary forms and words into physical deeds, nonlinguistic expression, and subjective moods and feelings.

Exploring thinkers from Socrates and Confucius to Foucault and Simone de Beauvoir, Richard Shusterman probes the question of what roles literature could play in a vision of philosophy as something essentially lived rather than merely written. To develop this vision of philosophy that incorporates literature but seeks to go beyond the verbal to realize the embodied fullness of life and capture its inexpressible dimensions, Shusterman gives particular attention to authors who straddle the literature/philosophical divide: from Augustine and Montaigne through Wordsworth and Kierkegaard to T.S. Eliot, Georges Bataille, Maurice Blanchot, and Bertrand Russell. The book concludes with a chapter on the Chinese art of writing with its mixture of poetry, calligraphy, and painting.

Philosophy and the Art of Writing should interest students and researchers in literary theory and philosophy. It also opens the practice of philosophy to people who are not professionals in the writing of philosophy or literary theory.

Table of Contents

1. Philosophy and Literature: The Quarrels of Intimacy  2. Writing, Identity, and the Unity of Self  3. Expressing the Ineffable  4. The Art of Writing in Chinese Thought

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Richard Shusterman is the Dorothy F. Schmidt Eminent Scholar in the Humanities at Florida Atlantic University, USA, where he is also Professor of Philosophy and English, and Director of the Center for Body, Mind, and Culture.


Philosophy and the Art of Writing revitalizes [the] ancient tradition of philosophy as an embodied way of living, and examines the various ways the process and product of the art of writing can contribute to the philosophical life dedicated to self-examination and self-improvement, while also pointing out the ambiguities of such an enterprise …[This] is a thought-provoking, dialogue-engendering essay that is meant to be accessible for a wider audience. . . . [The shorter format] condenses Shusterman’s argument and helps the reader not to lose sight of the genuine philosophical problems, register the differences and common traces during the three sets of case studies, or establish connections among the relevant philosophical, literary, and cultural traditions. Shusterman’s argument inhabits and moves within these various traditions with an impressive ease. And it is exactly here, in the elegant philosophical syntheses and surprising cross-cultural connections, where the reader will find the hidden gems of the book.’

Botond Csuka, The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 2022