Test: GMAT Verbal

"Poetry and Philosophy" by Justin Bailey

As the logical positivism rose to ascendancy, poetic language was increasingly seen as merely emotive. Wittgenstein’s influential Tractatus argued that only language corresponding to observable states of affairs in the world was meaningful, thus ruling out the value of imaginative language in saying anything about the world. Poetry’s contribution was rather that it showed what could not be said, a layer of reality which Wittgenstein called the “mystical.” Despite Wittgenstein’s interest in the mystical value of poetry, his successors abandoned the mystical as a meaningful category, exiling poetry in a sort of no man’s land where its only power to move came through the empathy of shared feeling.

Yet some thinkers, like Martin Heidegger, reacted strongly to the pretensions of an instrumental theory of knowledge to make sense of the world. Heidegger, Hans-Georg Gadamer and Paul Ricoeur all gave central value to poetry in their philosophical method; signifying a growing sense among continental thinkers that poetic knowing was an important key to recovering some vital way of talking about and experiencing the world that had been lost.


The author is primarily concerned with __________.

enumerating the reasons why Wittgenstein and his successors were misguided in their philosophical approach

explaining various theories of why poetic language has the power to move the human spirit

exploring the contribution of philosophy to discussions of poetic method and appreciation

describing the mainstream marginalization of poetry among philosophers of a certain period before noting significant exceptions

arguing that given the current trajectory of philosophy, poetry will soon no longer be studied in mainstream society

1/2 questions


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