Lyrical or lyric philosophy vs analytical philosophy

Analytical philosophy, which is the kind of philosophy that dominates the world now and which sprung out of the West makes use of argumentation. Meanwhile, according to Ed Mooney, lyrical philosophy does not respond to true-false questions. But I think this idea is something I don’t totally agree to just yet.

Lyrical philosophy is revisited

Lyrical philosophy is something one returns to again and again because of its affective quality.

The conclusion and argument from analytical philosophy is not necessarily returned to. Once known, it is enough that you know it. You don’t return to the text.

In lyrical philosophy, lyric serves philosophy, so that a philosophical statement becomes more beautiful and therefore appeals more to emotions. And this is important because we respond not just to reason but also, and perhaps even more so, to emotions.

Some people who have explored this subject:

Examples of lyrical philosophy

  • the Whirlwind in Job
  • Ecclesiastes

Note that the term “lyrical philosophy” is not as accepted or used in academia as the word “lyric philosophy” popularized by Jan Zwicky through her book of the same title. Although both trace their ancestry back to ludwig wittgenstein and I can imagine how the two can easily merge into a single concept, edward mooney and Zwicky have subtle differences in how they use each idea.



Mooney, E. (2012, July 15). Lyrical Philosophy. Mists on the Rivers—.

lyrical philosophy is philosophy to be sung, read aloud again and again.

Once you get a philosophical proof, or good argument, you can set it aside, and move on; it has no more interest, it’s like solving an equation or balancing the budget — you do it once and that’s that. You know the answer and the argument. But lyrical philosophy doesn’t give you an answer to pocket because it does not respond to true-false questions, or good-bad argument questions, on a philosophy exam.

You tune into lyrical philosophy every morning, or at least once a week, because you never tire of the tune, and you attend to the way it’s performed today (as opposed to yesterday) and how it fits your mood today (as opposed to yesterday’s mood).

We love musical philosophy because we’re musical creatures, creatures of rhythm and sound, and voice, not just evidence-collecting, proof-producing, and argument-hawking creatures. Lyrical philosophy, like music, explores, sounds, sympathizes, excites.