Philosophy, Literature, and the Faith of the Ironist


This paper focuses on the dynamic relationship between philosophy and literature, using the conceptual frame developed by Richard Rorty. First, I’m interested in revisiting Rorty’s distinction between writers who are preoccupied with self-creation, self-edification, and autonomy, on the one hand, and writers who are dedicated to the problems of common good, public deliberation, and solidarity, on the other hand. Second, I try to draw a map of the contemporary theorizations concerning the possible loci in the philosophy – literature dyad. Third, I tackle the theme of ironism by discussing the philosophical implications of Michel Houellebecq’s last novel, Soumission. In this case, we get a glimpse of the fact that there may be literary works that are both useful for public purposes and still faithful to irony. Moreover, this example shows that the barrier between philosophy and literature is permeable enough to produce fruitful results.

Keywords: irony, philosophy, literature, self-edification, autonomy, conversation of mankind, politicization of epistemology

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