No world but in things: The poetry of naess's concrete contents

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Arne Naess introduced the notion of ‘concrete contents’ to posit that the qualities we perceive in nature are intrinsic to the things themselves, and not just projections of our senses on to the world. This gives environmentalism more credence than if secondary qualities about the environment are considered subjective in a pejorative sense. But the concrete contents position pushes philosophy toward poetry because it suggests that felt qualities are as primary as logic. For a philosophy to justify itself, it sometimes needs to find resonance with qualities outside its borders. Examples are presented from Italian writer Italo Calvino, the music of the Kahuli people of New Guinea, a film by John Sayles, and a poem by Tomas Tranströmer. The concrete philosophical contents of the world are found in the relationships between philosophy and experience, never inside philosophy alone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)255-272
Number of pages18
JournalInquiry (United Kingdom)
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 1996

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Philosophy
  • Health Policy


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