Silvia Pieroni

In what does the scientificity of philosophy consist of? Is the argumentative task of philosophy only a theoretical activity, or does it require a rhetorical dimension? Does the adherence to a strict scientific method necessarily hinder the pursuit of the so-called “beautiful style”? The current philosophical debate prefers to ignore the objection that the phenomenon of style raises to philosophy’s claim of scientificity rather than reflecting on its necessity: the style introduces an irreducible element of singularity into philosophical discourse, that however aspires to be universal. This runs the risk, for some, of bringing philosophy closer to literature and consequently of compromising its specificity.

This contribution, which introduces the issue 16 of InCircolo dedicated to “Style and Philosophy” aims at understanding philosophy as a phenomenon of style, following the provocation of the German philosopher Manfred Frank. First, I will describe the theoretical possibilities arising from the perspective of literature in philosophy. Second, I will show the relevance of the issue of style in some philosophical traditions assuming Berel Lang’s distinction between a neutralist model and an interactionist model. Finally, I will outline some guidelines for a philosophy of style that addresses both the singular character of style and the philosophical writing practice. Such a philosophy of style will allow us to see rooted in the stylistic choice the specificity of the philosophical method, as well as to recover, from a new perspective, secular issues including the literary genre of philosophy and the rhetorical dimension of philosophical discourse.

The papers collected in the Philosophical Question of this issue examine important case studies in the history of philosophy regarding the problem of style using different methodological approaches. As a whole, they provide a plural and complex picture of the most pressing questions to which the philosophy of style is called to respond.

Stile e filosofia
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