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Is there wisdom which actually cannot be fully expressed except in poetry or

Is there wisdom which actually cannot be fully expressed except in poetry or literature or art? Or is addressing philosophical questions in such an "artistic" manner just a way of jazzing up an argument which could have stood cut-and-dried, anyway? Is there anything Homer could teach us which Plato could not?

As Nicholas suggests, it partly depends upon what you mean by 'wisdom'. Many philosophers (and others) have been attracted to the idea thatart provides a kind of experientially-based 'insight' that pureargumentation cannot supply. One possibility here is that there are properties or propositions that we (or at least, most ordinary people living fairly ordinary lives) can only become acquainted with through art. This might be because the art provides a kind of substitute experience for a reality most of us will never experience (e.g. slogging through the fog of war), or because the art provides an experience that simply does not occur in real life (e.g. the sublimity of a symphony). Another possibility is that art provides us with a perspective on, or a mode of presentation of, properties or propositions that we might already be independently acquainted with; but that this perspective or mode of presentation leads us to appreciate the familiar propositions in a more profound and intimate way. Thus, Crime and Punishment might lead us to appreciate the truth of the cliche that "crime doesn't pay." Finally -- what to me seems intuitively closest to the notion of wisdom -- some people think that engaging with art can train our cognitive and emotional faculties to respond to real life in a more mature, nuanced manner. Thus, Martha Nussbaum (cf. esp. Love's Knowledge) suggests that novels are uniquely equipped to help us appreciate and negotiate the complex, highly context-laden challenges of ethical action because they provide us with a rich, experiential engagement with complex and ethically challenging characters and situations, in a context where our perceptions are not clouded by self-interest as they typically are in actual life, and where the author actively helps us to see things in an ethically responsible way.

It really depends upon what you mean by "wisdom." The way you put it, it would appear that you mean the same thing by "wisdom" as some information or statement that might otherwise be produced by philosophical argumentation. I am not inclined to call such things "wisdom" at all, though they may be produced by wisdom of a certain sort. Rather, I am inclined to think of wisdom as a kind of virtue or excellence of character--one which is characterized by intellectual skill, perhaps, and also by practical intelligence. If this is right, then wisdom is not simply some information that can be concluded via argumentation or for that matter enunciated in poetry or other art forms. One with this virtue, however, might reveal or enact his or her possession of such wisdom in the things they might say or write, and also in the appropriateness and effectiveness of how they say or write what they do. It could well be that the very best way for a wise person to communicate something of importance to a target...