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War of the Worldviews
With this issue, PHILOSOPHY AND LITERATURE enters its second quarter century. For many of the past twenty-five years it has enjoyed the sponsorship of Whitman College and the extraordinarily capable coeditorship of Patrick Henry. Bard College now assumes sponsorship, and the journal will be edited jointly by us, with Pat Henry ascending to the empyrean to look down upon us as Editor Emeritus.
From its first issue (a mere 124-page wisp of a journal, but with robust essays by Hazel Barnes, Monroe Beardsley, and a smart young thinker named Martha Nussbaum), PHILOSOPHY AND LITERATURE has provided a home for anyone convinced by the initially counterintuitive notion that a close study of fiction can play an irreplaceable role in epistemology, ethics, philosophy of language, and even metaphysics. Philosophy is about life from the broadest possible human perspective, and so is literature. But how different the perspectives! Plato saw fiction, poetry, drama, and passion dug in on one side of the battle lines, with science, philosophy, and reason on the other. Not for the first time, nor the last, he was right. At this journal, we're on no peace mission, and we don't relish vapid compromises. Both sides in Plato's War of the Worldviews will be discomfited and annoyed to learn that they have features in common. Would-be peacemakers will be disappointed to see fresh hostilities breaking out just when they thought differences were being at last reconciled. We're interested more in the facts, arguments, and the healthy entertainment of battle than we are in making anybody comfortable. And let's admit it: the kinds of scholarly disputes we encourage in this journal can be exciting and fun.
Watch these pages, therefore, not only for fresh news of ancient disputes, but also for exciting studies that break old boundaries, exploring the myriad linkages between traditional aesthetics and such empirical disciplines as psychology, anthropology, and biology. The [End Page iii] symposium on jazz in this issue marks as well our intention to publish engaging work on the arts and culture in general, not limiting ourselves to the areas named in our title. All the articles in PHILOSOPHY AND LITERATURE are, as always, offered in the spirit of expanding the reach and depth of humanistic scholarship. But one thing will stay the same around here: our constant concern to offer prose that is characterized by exactitude, insight, refinement, rigor, and above all, clarity.
Heartfelt thanks to the many individual readers and writers who have brought PHILOSOPHY AND LITERATURE to this stage of its evolution. We welcome your suggestions about future directions. And so we roll up our sleeves and plunge into the next twenty-five years.
University of Canterbury