Erkennen – philosophisch und lyrisch

Hauptsächlicher Artikelinhalt

Tilman Borsche


The problem of this volume is not so much ‚Lyrik‘ but rather ‚Erkenntnis‘ (knowledge, cognition). This paper, therefore, discusses a revision of the notion of ‚erkennen‘ (knowing, realizing, understanding), explaining it as a way of transforming our way of thinking things at the same time as understanding ourselves and other cognizant beings. In this way, the notion of knowledge / understanding is to be freed from the narrow restrictions of science, by which most of us have acquired the habit of limiting understanding to specific scientific methods. Beyond the bounds of established scientific standards, the practice of philosophical thinking reveals analogies to the practice of lyrical thinking. Both try to explore new ways of thinking beyond the limits of established methodological guidelines. Which characteristics do they share, which differences remain? But most of all, how can these nonscientific ways of searching for knowledge be protected from confusion and disorientation? How may their ways of thinking be legitimized? Where do they lead?

A major thesis of the paper argues that both ways of searching for knowledge, poetry and philosophy, question the generally accepted distinction of analytical and synthetic judgements. This distinction is a constitutive element of any scientific discourse manifesting itself in the importance of the introductory definitions of its specific basic terms. They start from the common experience that seemingly evident words and notions, by being used in unaccustomed ways, may change their meanings, i.e. their relations to other words and notions. Both in their own traditions, experimental practices of thinking poetry as well as philosophy, may succeed in opening up new ways of perceiving of things as well as realizing the thinkers’ own position in the world while attempting to convince others to join them in doing so.


Borsche, T. 2019. Erkennen – philosophisch und lyrisch. Internationale Zeitschrift für Kulturkomparatistik. 1 (2019), 47-59. DOI: