In Sir Philip Sidney's "Apology for Poetry," he addresses the conflict between the moral philosopher, the historian, and the poet.
He subscribes to the Aristotelian view that poetry highlights universal truths that are ennobling. Sidney maintains that historians' obsessive focus on immutable facts is destructive; he argues that poetry is far more reliable as a moral guide because of its emphasis on rational principles. Like Aristotle, Sidney contends that the poet is superior in his ability to express true virtue.
Sidney's Aristotelian beliefs converge in some instances with his neo-Platonic stances. He defends the heuristic nature of poetic ideals: universal truths are beneficial if they result in actional and verbal expressions in the practical world. By all indications,...
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