Abstract

Some avowals are what Dorit Bar-On calls “Reportive Avowals”; they express the avower’s mental state directly, but nevertheless have propositional content. I argue that some poems are Reportive Avowals (“PARAs”). They are tools for expressing strong but conflicting emotions; poems by Emily Dickinson are examples. Wittgenstein was right about intentions not being clearly separable from their expressions. The intentions of a poet in writing a poem cannot be neatly separated from the poem. Therefore, understanding a PARA requires understanding the poet’s intentions. Writing and reading PARAs can enhance our understanding of what it means to avow.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. 375-391
Launched on MUSE
2018-02-08
Open Access
N
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