“The elements into which all poesy is divided are two…metaphor and meter.” Thus writes Snorri Sturluson in the Prose Edda, a handbook compiled by Snorri for the aid of the Icelandic skalds. Of “skaldic metaphor,” he writes, there are three types: “first, calling everything by its name; the second type is that which is called ‘substitution;’ the third type of metaphor is that which is called ‘periphrasis.’” Offering an example of this last, Snorri writes: “Suppose I take Odin, or Thor, or any of the Aesir or Elves, and to any of them whom I mention, I add the name of a property of some other of the Aesir, or I record certain works of his. Thereupon he becomes owner of the name…just as when we speak of Victory-Tyr, or Tyr of the Hanged…that then becomes Odin’s name, and we call these periphrastic names.” So it becomes evident that for Snorri, metaphor, in all of its varieties, is simply a matter of giving the right names to things, and this task of naming he calls one of the two elemental tasks of the poet. There is a remarkable similarity here between Snorri and Aristotle, for one finds that in the Poetics, metaphor is said to “consist in giving the thing a name that belongs to something else,” and to be a master of metaphor, Aristotle claims, is “the greatest thing by far.”1
Not surprisingly, then, the second book of Snorri’s Edda (the so-called Skaldskaparmal) consists of a catalogue of poetic names for things in the world, for men, and for the gods. Thor is called “Son of Odin and Jord, Father of Magni and Modi and Thrudr, Husband of Sif, Wielder and Possessor of Mjollnier and of the Girdle of Strength; Defender of Asgard and of Midgard,” among other names. Kings, Snorri tells us, are called “Men of the Standards” or “Van-Leaders of the Array” or “Dispensers of Gold,” and gold itself is named the “metal of strife.” A ship is called a “steed of the billows,” and battle a “storm of weapons.” Winter is the “tempest-season,” and summer the “comfort of serpents.” As to the proper manner of referring to men, Snorri writes, “How should a man be periphrased? By his works, by that which he gives or receives or does; he may also be periphrased in terms of his property, those things which he possesses…likewise, in terms of the families from which he descended, as well as those which have sprung from him.”2
This passage inevitably calls to mind the Homeric epithet, which is a kind of naming of men, and one which is often made “in terms of the families from which (the character) descended,” or “by that which he gives or receives or does.” Agamemnon is “Atrides,” the “Son of Atreus;” Diomedes Tydides, the “Son of Tydeus.” Hector is the “breaker of horses,” and Odysseus is “much-suffering Odysseus.” In each case, the epithet attributed by the poet reveals something of immense importance about the man, some trait or relation bound up in a special way with his life and personality – the great fortitude of Odysseus, the dark destiny looming over the head of Agamemnon, the high pedigree of valor which drives Diomedes to fight against the gods themselves. In each case, the epithet – the name – is a revelation of identity. In each case, the name reveals something essential about the man.
This intimate relation between a thing’s name and its essence is a phenomenon that the philosopher Ernst Cassirer returned to over and over again in his writings. Cassirer was greatly interested in the way that language captures and expresses the most primal intuitions into reality which our conscious minds gather, in particular during that early stage in mental and cultural development which he calls the “mythmaking consciousness.” Of this stage, he writes: “The notion that name and essence bear a necessary and internal relation to each other, that the name does not merely denote but actually is the essence of its object, that the potency of the real thing is contained in the name – that is one of the fundamental assumptions of the mythmaking consciousness itself.”3 Cassirer goes on in other places to note that this perception of the essence in the name, though “seemingly naïve and unreflecting,” as he calls it, is actually the “indispensable preliminary stage and condition”4 for all theoretical inquiry. He writes:
In the immanent development of the mind the acquisition of the sign really constitutes a first and necessary step towards knowledge of the objective nature of the thing. For consciousness the sign is, as it were, the first stage and the first demonstration of objectivity, because through it the constant flux of the contents of consciousness is for the first time halted, because in it something enduring is determined and emphasized.5
It is the act of naming which “halts” that flux of experience - as Cassirer writes: “the chaos of immediate impressions takes an order and clarity for us only when we ‘name’ it.’”6
What I am suggesting now is that it is the poet who most effectively names things in this way, who most powerfully arrests our attention from the seemingly chaotic tenor of experience and begins to display to us the determinate nature of the reality encompassing us. This is one of the key respects in which poetic language differs from non-poetic language. We customarily think of the language of poetry as being unique on account of its expressiveness, its sweetness, or even its loftiness of tone and diction. These are clearly proper grounds of distinction. But what I am emphasizing now is that poetic language is unique also on account of its precision, its capacity to display things in their true light, and, in this way, to prepare the furniture of the world for the mind’s reception. Heidegger made much of this feature of poetic discourse, in particular in an essay he wrote called Holderlin and the Essence of Poetry. There he writes: “by speaking the essential word, the poet’s naming first nominates the beings as what they are,” and again, that poetry is “a naming of being and of the essence of all things – not just any saying, but that whereby everything first steps into the open, which we then discuss in everyday language.”7
The great poets are constantly doing this, nominating beings as what they are, and bringing the multifarious aspects of our world for the first time into the open. We find this happening time and again in the best poetry – a certain turn of phrase, a special application of trope or figure, that presents some phenomenon to our attention in such a way that we feel ourselves to be aware of its true nature for the very first time. So when Swinburne, in his “Hymn to Proserpine,” describes the sea as “white-eyed and poisonous-finned, shark-toothed and serpentine curled,”8 we seem to sense, in a wholly new way, the extraordinarily dangerous and deadly power of the ocean. When Shelley addresses the west wind as a “Destroyer and Preserver,”9 we have revealed to us the broad agency for change inhering in that natural phenomena, which would make it, in Shelley’s mind, such an apt symbol for the aspirations of the poet. Or when Thomas Traherne, in the “Salutation,” imagines himself in the mind of an infant, greeting his newly formed limbs as “new burnished joys” and “sacred treasures,”10 we see, stepping into the open for the first time, the perfect contingency, and supreme preciousness, of the human body, and hence of human existence. In every case, we sense that the poet has revealed something essential about the phenomenon, that, speaking simply, he has told us something true about these things.
I hasten to add that this feature of poetic language is not noticeable in all poets at all times. In particular, as poetry developed in the modern world, it increasingly displayed a tendency to shift its emphasis away from true descriptions of nature towards various symbolic representations of the poet’s consciousness. We can discern some traces of this tendency beginning to emerge in the works of the Romantics, for instance, in Shelley’s “To a Skylark,” where the comparison of the bird to “a Poet hidden / In the light of thought / Singing hymns unbidden,”11 clearly refers as much to the concerns and the experience of the poet as to any features of the object in the world. But the truly revolutionary change occurred with the advent of modernist poetics, which placed elusiveness and interiority first among the poetic virtues. When T.S. Eliot famously compares the evening sky to a “patient etherized upon a table,”12 it is obvious that the metaphor does not name something in the world – that is to say, does not refer to any real feature of the thing – so much as it refers to, or names, the highly morbid psychological state of the modernist poet. By the time we get to Hart Crane referring to noon as “a rip-tooth of the sky’s acetylene”13 or Allen Tate declaring that “we shall say only the leaves whispering / In the improbable mist of nightfall / That flies on multiple wing,”14 it is unclear whether these poets are naming anything at all, whether their lines have any intelligible significance outside of the poet’s whimsy. The studied obscurity at the heart of modernist style eroded the poet’s ability to say anything true about the things in the world. In fact, a very effective critique of modernism in the literary arts might begin from a willingness to take Snorri’s assertion seriously, that naming is an integral facet of the poetic art.
Nonetheless, we should not make the error of assuming that because poetic descriptions are generally colored to some extent by the subjectivity of the poet, that they are all therefore distorted or untrustworthy. To do so would effectively concede the major premise of scientism, that we understand nature in direct proportion to the extent that we are able to alienate ourselves from our own experience. To the contrary, in poetry, a thing is not named as it appears in some purported isolation from the human mind, but as it presents itself to the emotions, the purposes, the beliefs of man; the thing does not come out into the open of a bodiless objectivity – Thomas Nagel’s “view from nowhere”15 – but comes out into the open of specifically human consciousness, as that consciousness is necessarily constituted by its affective, volitional, and rational faculties, what many materialist philosophers are now in the obnoxious habit of referring to as “folk psychology,” but which ordinary persons are accustomed to think of as the ordinary furniture of wakeful sentient existence. Poetry is thus unabashedly anthropocentric; it brazenly defies the overwhelming tendency of modern thought to regard the pursuit of truth as a course which moves increasingly away from subjective experience and towards a universalism ideally divested of any specific human perspective. Poetry assumes, to the contrary, that truth about the world is to be found in those specially intense and intimate experiences which life brings from time to time, experiences which are necessarily from some particular human perspective. The work of Wordsworth would be particularly rich in examples serving to verify this point; there, one finds a walk through a field of daffodils or a return to a scenic landscape once visited become moments of profound insight, when, as Wordsworth himself puts its, “we see into the life of things.”16 In naming things, the poet states the truth about things, and in naming things as they appear in our common experience, the poet affirms that our common experience is a potential avenue to truthfulness, a level of understanding at which reality can be found. These assumptions constitute what I will call the “poetic mentality.”
The contrast I wish to draw is between the “poetic mentality,” thus understood, and the scientific mentality, characterized here by its tendency to train men to believe that the realm of common experience is, in a certain sense, incorrigibly deceptive, that reality is best discovered under certain experimental conditions (conditions very frequently designed to suppress features of normal conscious experience), and that the truth about things is to be found in their parts, properly discerned and related to one another in causal fashion. The tendency towards analysis is, as Jacques Barzun demonstrated in From Dawn to Decadence, one of the great themes of modern thought.17 Beginning with the emergence of the “corpuscular” theory of matter in the 17th century, and continuing in the twentieth century with the genetic revolution in biology, the scientific mentality has grown increasingly confident that truth lies in the direction of the analyzed parts, and thus away from our common experience with the world. The strange, and as yet undigested, findings of quantum mechanics have only served to exacerbate this sense of the apparent delusiveness of our common experience with physical nature. What the poet regards as a realm of potential truthfulness – ie, our common experience - the scientist must regard as the veil of deception. To the scientific mentality, nothing is properly named until it has been properly dissected. From this perspective, the poet’s act of naming, which is a naming of whole things, can appear as nothing other than an indolent, naïve, or self-indulgent surrender to illusions.
There are deep, and deeply consequential, errors bound up with this resort to analysis as the final word on truthfulness, with this conviction that the separation of an entity into its parts provides us with a real understanding of that entity as it is, rather than just history of how that entity came to be. Heidegger states the nature of this error admirably:
A stone presses downward and manifests its heaviness. But while this heaviness exerts an opposing pressure upon us it denies us any penetration into it. If we attempt such a penetration by breaking open the rock, it still does not display in its fragments anything inward that has been disclosed. The stone has instantly withdrawn again into the same dull pressure and bulk of its fragments. If we try to lay hold of the stone’s heaviness in another way, by placing the stone on a balance, we merely bring the heaviness into the form of a calculated weight. This perhaps very precise determination of the stone remains a number, but the weight’s burden has escaped us…Earth thus shatters every attempt to penetrate into it. It causes every merely calculating importunity to turn into a destruction. This destruction may herald itself under the appearance of mastery and of progress in the form of the technical-scientific objectivation of nature, but this mastery nevertheless remains an impotence of will.18
Scientific analysis engenders that “impotence of will” because the knowledge it bequeaths is a knowledge wholly removed from the ordinary sphere of volition, which is the sphere of common experience. We will what we desire and what we prefer according to rational deliberation, but our desires and rational deliberations are directed towards whole things, towards things as they appear to our common experience, and not to their constituent parts. The knowledge rendered by scientific analysis is thus, in a very important respect, wholly irrelevant knowledge.
Cassirer characterizes the error involved here as a confusion between what he calls “problems of form” and “problems of cause,” a confusion stemming from an even deeper confusion between the category of being and that of becoming. The method of analysis entails a mechanistic history of how the parts come together to form a whole, and the assumption of modern science has been that such a history is all that is needed to understand the nature of any given entity. The mistake here is in believing that such a history adds up to a full account, without remainder, of what a thing is at any present time; as Cassirer writes: “A whole cannot emerge from a mechanical combination of parts. Genuine wholeness exists only where all the parts are dominated by a single purpose and strive to realize it.” What is needed is a concept of form, a concept corresponding to what a thing is, rather than how it comes to be. According to Cassirer, modern philosophy set off on its inexorable course when Hobbes defined the goal of philosophy to be “knowledge of effects, or phenomena through their causes or principles,” thus eliminating the very need for the concept of form. Yet, as Cassirer makes clear, this privileging of the “problems of cause” – and thus of the knowledge that comes through analysis – is a mere begging of the question: “it assumes as proven the very point that constitutes the real problem and that which is most in need of proof; it proceeds on the assumption that beyond the dimension that is determined and dominated by the concept of causality, there is no other plane in which there is anything whatsoever to be ‘known.’” Some concept of form becomes absolutely necessary if we are to understand what things are, a concept of entities as whole things which cannot be translated or reduced to a concept of entities as mechanically interacting parts. Cassirer references in this regard Goethe’s notion of an urphanemon, the so-called “basic phenomenon” which “appears and is, without there being anything else to explain about it.”19 The “basic phenomenon” is “an ultimate which can not itself be explained, which is in fact not in need of explanation, but from which all that we observe can be made intelligible,” and the way to discover this basic phenomenon is, as Goethe himself insisted, through “pure experience.”20 What I have called the “poetic mentality” is a mode of understanding that is pitched at this level of “basic phenomena;” it finds its truth among such ultimate forms.21
Because “problems of form” cannot simply be translated into “problems of causality” – because the analytical method cannot fully answer the question of what a thing is – the concepts proper to the one mode of inquiry will not prove proper to the other. The concepts which we use to make sense of the world as it appears to our experience will not be the concepts we use to make sense of the world separated into its constituent parts, or, to put the point in another, and much more unfashionable, way, the concepts of conscious life do not translate into the concepts of science, nor vice versa. Think here of the basic concept of beauty; a little acquaintance with human life, and with the history of culture, will verify that men simply find it impossible to describe certain encounters with the world without this concept, or something like it. The motives of men in various cases – for instance, one who spends a very large part of his life out of doors with his paint and brushes, or another who performs all sorts of foolish actions for the sake of a certain woman – become impossible to understand without some reference to beauty. But as the concept of beauty generally refers to an order or harmony prevailing among a composition of things – that is to say, a relation among things which is not causal - the concept really has no place in the analytical method of science, according to which parts are always related to one another in some causal fashion. Thus, scientific thought will always try to explain away the concept of beauty as vague and lacking in real reference, or else try to produce some invariably unconvincing account of its causal legacy, such as are on offer today from neuroscience or evolutionary psychology. In each case, the scientific mentality displays its inherent distrust of common experience.
The poetic mentality, as I have described it, is thus a way of understanding that accepts our common experience as a realm of reality, a realm of phenomena about which true propositions may be made; that looks for truth among the whole objects of our experience, and not in their analyzed, causally related parts; and which employs, for its better understanding, concepts which have reference to that experience, and not to analysis. What I wish to maintain is that all sound and humane ethical and political thought is pitched at that same level of understanding, that all real ethical and political thought is thought about our common experience and the realm of “ultimate forms” we encounter in that experience – in short, about the world as it is named by the poet. Such ethical and political speculation similarly assumes, as a basic premise, that true propositions may be made about the phenomena of our experience, without resort to either analysis or mathematical abstraction, the two characteristic explanatory tendencies of modern science. Sound ethical and political thought assumes that true propositions about the world are ones that include, and not rigorously exclude, our volitional stance towards the world. It takes as its task the examination of the deliberation and choosing of conscious agents, as these are directed towards phenomena appearing ordinarily to consciousness, and the framing of true statements about that deliberation and that choosing. All true ethical and political thought therefore proceeds from the poetic mentality.
A full and adequate treatment of all the ways the scientific paradigm of rationality - ie, the scientific mentality – has influenced ethical and political thought in the modern world lies outside the scope of this essay, and would in fact require a considerable study. But we need not look far for simple evidence of that influence in our day and age, when Darwin has been exalted to the status of an ethical thinker, when genetic determinism continues to pervade moral discourse, and when the most recent discoveries of neuroscience are already being applied to courtroom deliberations. A cursory survey of the last three hundred years will turn up one effort after another to transform the scientific mentality into a workable approach to ethical and political questions– from Locke’s “Newtonian psychology,” to the materialism of Enlightenment figures like La Mettrie and Helvetius, to Comte’s positivism, to Marx’s dialectical materialism, to the behaviorism of Skinner, etc. Several authors have argued recently that liberal political theory is, at its root, just an application of scientific rationality to the whole range of human questions with which ethics and politics have traditionally dealt. Patrick Deneen notes that in the first stage of liberalism’s development, “human beings came to be viewed as predictable material entities, governed by laws determining their behavior. In particular, the philosophic efforts of Hobbes and later Locke redefined human beings, understanding them to be subject to laws similar in form to the Galilean laws of matter and motion, which determined human activities and behaviors.”22 Thus the entire range of political and ethical dilemmas became transformed, at a stroke, into “problems of cause.” James Kalb traces the way this new understanding of human nature as an effect of causality has ended up corroding all forms of institutionalized restraint, and establishing the satisfaction of the will as the sole credible purpose of human action:
Science helps us control things physically, and what they are for us is molded by symbolism, social relationships, and biochemistry. People today believe they can manipulate such factors; they expect physical and social technology to permit reconstruction of all human reality and a large part of nature into a single rational system subject to man’s will and devoted to its satisfaction…History, tradition, biology, and religion become obstacles to be overcome or irrelevancies to be put to the side rather than part of an order of things to be valued and accepted. Power and pleasure become the ultimate goods, and other goods make sense only by reference to them.23
If my argument has been correct so far, this outcome of liberal theory stems from the misapplication of scientific standards of truth to questions originating in our common experience, and thus requiring resolution in terms appropriate to our common experience.
Consider again Heidegger’s contention that the technological mastery of nature provided by science cloaks a real “impotence of will,” a way of knowing that is ultimately irrelevant to volition. As I noted, this is the consequence of science’s pursuit of the truth outside the realm of our common experience, which is the realm of volition. Ethical and political dilemmas, whatever else they involve, always basically involve questions of how to will, and thus demand some way of knowing that is relevant to such questions. But science, as Heidegger shows, only offers a way of knowing that is entirely irrelevant to the question of how to will, and so the application of its methods to ethical and political questions cannot but be a fruitless endeavor. Surely, we can discern here the roots of that relativism, even nihilism, corroding so much contemporary moral discourse, for if only the scientifically verified counts as really true, we will never have answers to our ethical and political questions which count as really true. And this is only one example of the way the scientific mentality has introduced worlds of confusion into our ethical and political thought.
I would contend that ethical and political thought prior to the modern era sprung from the poetic mentality, and that a crucial detour was taken when that mentality was replaced by the scientific mentality as the source of true moral knowledge. It follows that one avenue towards reform for those who find the present condition of our ethical and political discourse intolerably decadent is to reclaim that poetic mentality, and this requires, first and foremost, restoring the art of poetry to its former pride of place among learned disciplines. It means establishing the reading of poetry as a propaedeutic exercise for all who are, or are intended to be, moral reasoners, because the reading of poetry is the most effective means of habituating the mind to search for truth at the level of understanding at which ethical and political truth must be found. It means placing the teaching of poetry – its exegesis, its memorization, its composition – at the forefront of our curricular agendas, particularly in the early stages of education. Of course, in advocating a primary place for poetry in the classroom, I am not advocating anything other than the dominant form of schooling which held place in the western world, with one modification or another, from the time of antiquity to the end of the nineteenth century, a form of schooling in which the recitation and imitation of poets like Virgil, Horace, and Ovid occupied an overwhelming majority of the instruction time, particularly in its elementary stages. We can trace the slow displacement of this mode of schooling in favor of a more scientifically oriented curriculum, from the Thomas Huxley – Matthew Arnold debate, to the passage of the National Defense Education Act of 1958 following the launch of Sputnik, to the regular appeals by contemporary politicians and pundits for improved instruction in “math and the sciences.” I submit that the correspondence between our increased moral confusion over the last century with these innovations in schooling is not coincidental.
Nonetheless, such educational reforms are not the main thing I have in mind when I speak of reclaiming the poetic mentality; they rather follow from the profound change of heart and mind I take such a reclamation to entail. To reclaim the poetic mentality means to begin all of our speculation about our duties and our communities from poetry - from what we learn from poetry - which is as much to say from our experience, because it is in the poem that authentic human experience is first ordered, first grasped, first named. It means to place the art of poetry at the head of the process of self-understanding, and it means to derive the substance of the humanistic disciplines – especially moral philosophy and political science – from this art. Think here of Alasdair MacIntyre’s account of the history of that Aristotelian tradition of moral inquiry to which he has been such an important contributor. According to MacIntyre, that tradition begins in Homer, where not only are the basic ethical and political conundrums besetting our communal life first dramatized, but the moral lexicon necessary to properly interpret those conundrums first comes to light. So that when philosophers like Plato and Aristotle inquire, in much more systematic fashion, into questions like whether excellence is to be preferred to efficiency, or whether the exercise of justice requires membership in some community, they are still wrestling with a conceptual terminology and a set of problems bequeathed to them by the Homeric texts.24 In this sense, their theorizing never wholly loses contact with poetry, and thus, never wholly loses contact with our common experience. MacIntyre’s history effectively affirms the boast made by Sir Philip Sidney, in his Apology for Poetry, that “in the noblest nations and languages that are known, (poetry) hath been the first light-giver to ignorance.”25
The unique contours of this tradition are thrown into startling relief when contrasted with a typically materialist reading of Homer, such as we find in Jonathan Gottschall’s The Rape of Troy. At the beginning of this book, which offers readings of the Homeric texts in light of evolutionary psychology, Gottschall notes that “most commentators have trusted the words of the warriors themselves.”26 Later in his book, however, he maintains that we only truly understand these characters’ motives when we recognize the purely mechanistic causes of their behavior: “Homer’s world is inhabited by men like Achilles – men who are gentle apes and killer apes, striving to accomplish, conquer, and possess, all in unconscious obedience to life’s prime directive: be fruitful and multiply.”27 Gottschall explicitly flies from the “conscious” experience of the characters to a chain of causality – specifically, the effects of natural selection on genetic legacy, and the effects of genetic legacy on behavior – in order to discover the truth about the way these characters behave. The experience of the Homeric characters becomes entirely epiphenomenal, and irrelevant to any accurate explanation of their actions – indeed, becomes a positive impediment to the development of any such accurate explanation. We should recognize that the conception of human nature implicit in Gottschall’s reading – a nature blindly determined by material forces – is one that can only bequeath to us a politics of control, coercion, and management – ie, modern liberal theory. More importantly, we should recognize in the extraordinarily violent misreading of the text which Gottschall carries out, one effectively requiring us to ignore whatever it is the characters affirm about their motives throughout the story, the approach of a critic intent to impose his scientific mentality upon poetry, which must always remain entirely alien to that mentality.
It is said that Plato once inscribed over the threshold to his Academy the following motto: “Let no one ignorant of geometry enter here.” In doing so, he attested to the supreme value he placed on the geometric standard of truthfulness – universal, timeless, deducible in a priori fashion – and his conviction that this standard ought to reign over all forms of inquiry. Over the last three hundred years or so, modern man has grown increasingly convinced that the scientific standard of truthfulness ought to be that sole standard, towards which all forms of inquiry should ideally tend. We have essentially inscribed the motto, “Let no one ignorant of science enter here,” over every one of our academies, and not just over the doorways of our physics and biology departments, where it obviously belongs, but over our departments of moral and political philosophy as well, and over our departments of psychology, and sociology, and economics. And we have inscribed it also over our houses of governance, our Congresses and our Town-halls, wherever the language of liberal theory prevails. So what I am proposing is a grand project of vandalism, the relentless effacing of that inscription from all the places it does not belong – from every hall of governance and every classroom devoted to humanistic learning – carving in each and every one of these places a new motto, a motto appropriate for an age of renewed self-understanding: “Let no one ignorant of poetry enter here.”
1. Poetics, 1457b 5-10; 1459a 1-5
2. All quotes taken from Sturluson, Snorri The Prose Edda, (Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 2006).
3. Cassirer, Ernst Language and Myth (New York: Dover Publications, 1953) 3.
4. Cassirer, Ernst The Logic of the Cultural Sciences (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000) 13.
5. Cassirer, Ernst The Philosophy of Symbolic Forms, Vol. 1 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1955) 89.
6. Cassirer 1955, 87.
7. Heidegger, Martin Elucidations of Holderlin’s Poetry (Amherst, NY: Humanity Books, 2000) 59-60.
8. Swinburne, A.C. “Hymn to Proserpine,” line 53.
9. Shelley, Percy Bysshe, “Ode to the West Wind,” line 14.
10. Traherne, Thomas, “Salutation,” lines 19-21.
11. Shelley, Percy Bysshe, “To a Skylark,” lines 36-38.
12. Eliot, T.S., “Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” lines 2-3.
13. Crane, Hart, “The Bridge: Proem,” line 22.
14. Tate, Allen, “Ode to the Confederate Dead,” lines 77-79.
15. Nagel, Thomas, The View From Nowhere, (New York: Oxford University Press, 1989).
16. Wordsworth, William, “Tintern Abbey,” line 49.
17. Barzun, Jacques, From Dawn to Decadence (New York: Harper Perennial, 2001).
18. Heidegger, Martin Poetry, Language, Thought ( New York: Harper Perennial, 2001), 45-46.
19. Cassirer 2000, Chapter 4.
20. Seamon, David “Goethe, Nature, and Phenomenology” in Goethe's Way of Science: A Phenomenology of Nature, David Seamon & Arthur Zajonc, editors. (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1998)
21. Stephen L. Talbott has recently argued that the method of analysis into causally related parts, so prevalent in modern biology since the genetic revolution, fails to suffice as an adequate explanation of organisms’ development. So even on purely scientific ground, the methodology is faulty. See “The Unbearable Wholeness of Beings,” in The New Atlantis, Fall 2010.
22. Patrick Deneen, “The Science of Politics and the Conquest of Nature” http://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/the-science-of-politics-and-the-conquest-of-nature
23. James Kalb, Tyranny of Liberalism (Wilmington, DE: ISI Books, 2008), 28.
24. MacIntyre, Alasdair, Whose Justice? Which Rationality? (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1988), chapters 2-3.
25. Sidney, Sir Philip, “Apology for Poetry” in Critical Theory Since Plato, ed. Hazard Adams, (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1992), 143.
26. Gottschall, Jonathan, The Rape of Troy, (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008), 2.
27. Gottschall, 163.