‘Could a rule be given from without, poetry would cease to be poetry, and sink into a mechanical art. It would be μóρφωσις, not ποίησις. The rules of the IMAGINATION are themselves the very powers of growth and production. The words to which they are reducible, present only the outlines and external appearance of the fruit. A deceptive counterfeit of the superficial form and colours may be elaborated; but the marble peach feels cold and heavy, and children only put it to their mouths.’ [Coleridge, Biographia ch. 18]

‘ποίησις’ (poiēsis) means ‘a making, a creation, a production’ and is used of poetry in Aristotle and Plato. ‘μóρφωσις’ (morphōsis) in essence means the same thing: ‘a shaping, a bringing into shape.’ But Coleridge has in mind the New Testament use of the word as ‘semblance’ or ‘outward appearance’, which the KJV translates as ‘form’: ‘An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form [μóρφωσις] of knowledge and of the truth in the law’ [Romans 2:20]; ‘Having a form [μóρφωσις] of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away’ [2 Timothy 3:5]. I trust that's clear.

There is much more on Coleridge at my other, Coleridgean blog.

Sunday, 8 March 2020

Rudyard Kipling, "If And Only If"


Iff you can keep two premises in view
In every proposition, and not bodge it,
Iff you can carefully derive the true
Via both sides of biconditional logic;
Iff you can frame precisely all you state,
Distinguish logic from the vulgar fable,
Step cleanly through the XNOR gate
Lay placemats on your P ↔ Q truth-table;

Iff it's both necessary and sufficient
That you out-logic all your math-opponents;
Iff their old inference proves inefficient
Beside your à-la-mode, dense modus podens;
Iff you unpack the statement “P iff Q”
As “if P, then it's Q” and “if Q, P”,
or as “if not-P, then not-Q” linked to
The “if P, then Q” prior necessity;

Iff you draw Euler digrams to show
How logical relationships obtain,
Not caring that you bore both friend and foe
With such mathematical legerdemain;
Iff you define the unforgiving minute
As sixty seconds squeezed of all their fun,
Yours is the Math and everything that’s in it!
And—one thing more—you’re on your own, my son.

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