Mite, metafoor en metafisika : stryd/spel op die grense 'tussen' poesie en filosofie

Du Toit, Henriette Louise (1995)

Thesis

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: In hierdie studie word daar gepoog om op 'n filosofies verantwoordbare manier die verband tussen filosofie (verstaan in die breedste sin as 'liefde vir die wysheid') en poesie (verstaan in die breedste sin as 'artistieke aktiwiteit') te verhelder. In die loop van die geskiedenis van die Westerse filosofie is hierdie verhouding oorwegend beskou as 'n teengestelde een, soos verwoord in die gewilde frases van 'muthos versus logos', en 'die antieke stryd tussen filosofie en poesie'. Die eerste sewe hoofstukke van die tesis word daaraan gewy om hierdie digotomiese en antagonistiese beskouing van die verband tussen filosofie en poesie uitvoerig te ondersoek en te kritiseer. Dit word gedoen deur eerstens die verskynsel van 'mite' te ondersoek, en die manier waarop die historiese ondergang van 'n leefwyse wat 'n mens 'mities' sou kon noem, die agtergrond gevorm het vir die opkoms van sowel filosofie as poesie gedurende die Griekse Verligting. Daar word aangetoon hoedat filosofie sigself van die poesie afskei en daarvan probeer suiwer, juis op grand daarvan dat filosofie mite probeer oorkom, terwyl poesie dit probeer approprieer. In hierdie sin word filosofie die spreekbuis vir die 'nuwe era' wat gekenmerk word deur die ideaal van teoreties-konseptuele representasie van die werklikheid in taal. Die tragiese teater word as teenhanger van die filosofie en (gedeeltelike) voortsetter van die mitiese tradisie bespreek, en as sodanig verteenwoordig dit 'die poetiese' in die algemeen, waarteen die filosofie sig in die loop van sy geskiedenis verset het. My kritiek teen die filosofie se demonisering van sowel 'mite' as 'poesie', kulmineer in hoofstuk 7. Daarin word die filosofiese ideaal van suiwerheid beskryf nie net as 'n paging tot die legitimering van die eg menslike bestaan ( en daarmee dan as 'n strategie wat op dieselfde vlak as 'mite' en 'poesie' beoordeel behoort te word) nie, maar ook as 'n pervertering van daardie funksie, met ander woorde as 'n mislukte sodanige legitimeringspoging. Hoofstukke 8 en 9 vorm die meer konstruktiewe gedeeltes van die tesis, waarin 'dialoog' as ware wins van die antiek filosofiese ideaal uitgewys word. Op grand van 'n analise van die term 'spel' word die baie ooreenkomste tussen (filosofiese) dialoog en (tragiese) teater verreken, en daarmee saam word 'n nuwe verstaan van begrip voorgestel, naamlik begrip as dee/name aan en in 'n spel. In die laaste hoofstuk word die konstruktiewe argument voortgesit, en gewaarsku teen die neiging om filosofie en poesie se grense volledig te laat saamsmelt. Sodanige neiging spruit juis voort uit 'n oorweging van die ooreenkomste soos in hoofstuk 8. In hierdie laaste hoofstuk betoog ek dat die grense 'tussen' filosofie en poesie, 'tussen' teoretiese en artistieke taal, sowel bestry as bespeel moet word. Hierdie oortuiging berus nie op 'n arbitrere teoretiese besluit nie, maar word aangetoon as noodsaaklike voorwaarde vir 'n geldige praktyk van morele oordeel en legitimering van die eg menslike bestaan.

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study is an attempt to find a philosophically valid way of conceiving of the relationship between philosophy (understood in the broadest sense as 'a love of wisdom') and poetry Ill (understood in the broadest sense as 'artistic activity'). In the course of the history of Western philosophy, this relationship was predominantly viewed as an antithetical one, as one can gather from popular phrases such as 'muthos versus logos' and 'the ancient struggle between philosophy and poetry'. In the first seven chapters of the thesis this antithetical and antagonistic view of the relationship between philosophy and poetry is extensively explored and criticised. This is done first by investigating the phenomenon of 'myth' and the way in which the historical disappearance of a 'mythical world' formed the background to the emergence of both philosophy and poetry during the time of the Greek Enlightenment. During its emergence, at its conception, philosophy distances it from and tries to purify itself of poetry, in the sense that philosophy tries to overcome myth, while poetry in its turn tries to appropriate myth. In this sense philosophy becomes the mouthpiece for the 'new era' which is characterised by the ideal of theoretical conceptual representation of reality in language. The phenomenon of tragic theatre as counterforce of philosophy and (partial) successor to the mythical tradition is also discussed as representative of 'the poetical' in general against which philosophy asserted itself during the whole of its history. My criticism against philosophy's demonization of both 'myth' and 'poetry' culminates in chapter 7. There the philosophical ideal of purity is described as not only an attempt at legitimation of human existence ( and therefore as a strategy which should be judged on the same level as 'myth' and 'poetry') but also as a pervertion of that function, in other words as a failed such an attempt. Chapters 8 and 9 form the more constructive part of the study, in which 'dialogue' is described as the true gain of the ancient philosophical ideal. On the basis of an analysis of the term 'play' (Spiel) the numerous similarities between (philosophical) dialogue and (tragic) theatre are explicated, and a new understanding of understanding is proposed, namely understanding as participation in play. In the closing chapter the constructive argument is continued with a reservation against the tendency to fully conflate the borders of philosophy and poetry. Such a tendency arises exactly from the kind of consideration of similarities which figures in chapter 8. In this last chapter I argue that the borders 'between' philosophy and poetry, 'between' theoretical and artistic language, must both be challenged and celebrated. It will be shown that this belief does not rest on an arbitrary theoretical decision, but rather constitutes a necessary condition for the valid practice of moral judgement and the legitimation of the truly human existence.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/58687
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