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Keywords:

  • philosophical analysis;
  • literature;
  • James Joyce;
  • Joyce's ‘Araby’;
  • French literature and philosophy

Abstract

How best to introduce philosophical ideas? Is the best and only way by studying the history of philosophy and its rational arguments and discussions? But can literature, usually hived off from philosophy, be used instead and can this be as effective as rational argument? This paper explores these questions. First it considers a text which introduces philosophy through the analysis of literature, in particular James Joyce's ‘Araby’, arguing that the traditional analytic approach employed by the text, by concentrating on epistemology, obscures other philosophical insights offered by Joyce. It then turns to French philosophy and literature and suggests that Sartre, Beauvoir and Camus by ‘blurring’ the analytic distinction between philosophy and literature have much to offer to the grasping and understanding of philosophical ideas and principles.