The Philosophy Haiku of Kris McDaniel


Philosopher Kris McDaniel, who will be moving shortly from Syracuse University to the University of Notre Dame, writes philosophy haiku.

Chiharu Shiota, “The Crossing”

Haiku, a form of poetry that originated in Japan, traditionally are composed of 17 syllables over three lines, with 5 in the first line, 7 in the second, and 5 in the third.

Professor McDaniel says that “trying to write haiku about philosophy is a good philosophical exercise, since the form forces both brevity and creativity of expression.” He adds, “Regardless, they are fun to write.” He kindly gave me permission to post a few of them here.

Some are about Kant and his interpreters:

twelve categories
derived from forms of judgment?
or forced to fit them?

.

Jonathan Bennett:
Kant’s a phenomenalist
It’s all in the head!

.

Things we cannot see
still belong to possible
experiences

.

But McDaniel gives a number of other figures in philosophy the haiku treatment:

 

Descartes divided
the body infinitely
the mind not at all

.

all this you can doubt
your body, the world are lost
meditate again

.

Hume looked for himself
but could find no impression
No idea of “I”

.

 Arithmetic fell
when Russell showed to Frege
a contradiction

.

Francis H. Bradley
had trouble with relations
and so lived alone

.

The worlds of Lewis
though merely possible
contain flesh and blood

More here.


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