Philosophers find Austin’s remarks innocuous, professing themselves astonished at the distress they have caused. The implication is that poets and critics are over-sensitive, and that if they are touchy about poetry, it is with some reason: there is something not quite impressive about their enterprise. But the tendency of philosophers to ignore the evidence, to excuse inconsistencies and overlook reasonable complaints, reveals a marked disdain for poetry. This helps account for the fact that so much of what is philosophically significant in poetry is ignored, and so much in philosophy that is relevant to the appreciation of poetry goes unrecognized. We might respond by bemoaning a defective communicative environment that deprives poetry of its full expressive capacity and philosophy of its full critical potential. But it would be better to try to understand the situation in the hope of changing it.
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