Wednesday, April 14, 2010

a list of questions

Tomorrow I'm getting coffee with YO (!), author of an interesting article about how Kierkegaard apparently criticized a novel of Hans Christian Anderson for 'failing to express a coherent philosophy of life'.

My questions:
- How can a novel express a philosophy of life?
- Maybe by describing life in a way that exemplifies certain habits of attention? i.e. habits about a) which of all the many different propositions which are true of our situation we notice and b) which possible projects which our situation allows we consider.
- Is there some other mechanism/sense in which a novel can express a philosophy of life?
- How can a 'philosophy of life' be incoherent? A philosophical theory can be incoherent if it contains propositions that contradict one another and hence can't all be simultaniously true. But what's the equivalent for habits of attention? Maybe if you keep noticing projects that require incompatible things for their achievement (like if one person tried to follow through on the plans of K's seducer and his judge at the same time).
[-Does this view make novels dangerous, insofar as they might infect us, and change our actual habits of attention in ways that we don't want them to change, or in ways that well prevent us from noticing things like human suffering which we ought to notice?]

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