There are two areas under lyrical philosophy:

  1. Practice
  2. Writing

Qualities of written lyrical philosophy

  • Presents deep thoughtfulness.
  • Veers towards the religious.
  • Tunes to the moment.
  • Dramatic
  • Episodic
  • Conversational
  • Exposes felt-realities
  • Delivers a tang of life
  • Moments of passionate speech
  • Displays the nature of circus identity
  • Shows startling moments of faith

How to live lyrical philosophy

The kind of philosophy that I want to do is first lived. Whatever it is that I believe in, I must live it first.

Given the qualities of the written philosophy I want to write, it is only through truly living lyrically that I can give birth to lyrical writing.

Love the form of life suited to yourself.

You must live a life that you can affirm through passionate speech.

Take care of your soul.

  • Open yourself to your deepest passions and values even those that are irrational.
  • Yield and take care of that part of you that is untamed and filled with contradictions.

Integrate piety with intellectual work.

Mooney’s method

In teaching, I move naturally from a mountain-trail CAUTION or a poem of Emily Dickinson to contemplative activities, such as reading, writing, thinking quietly, focused on texts tilted toward the religious.

This is where walking can be integrated into philosophy. Use everything around you as prompt for philosophizing. Remember Martin Bunzl:

“What I found early in my career was that there are two different ways to do philosophy, at least the kind of philosophy I do, which is analytic philosophy. One is to focus very hard on the steps in an argument when you are trying to assess whether or not it is a good argument. But there’s another way to do philosophy, which is to try to relax and let your mind wander and be surprised by the associations that you get.”

See my thinking while walking strategy.

Bunzl produced analytical philosophy. I want to produce beautiful words that delve into existence and foundational issues. How do I pull this of? Only annie dillard comes to mind.

Raise the most profound questions but refuse to provide satisfying answers.

Practicing a living lyrical philosophy is all about sharpening your attention

Aspire for better seeing, imagining, and feeling. When you have sharpened your attention, you become more open to revelations of ordinary reality and the fine textures of your life and that of others. A sharp attention gives you a poet’s unclouded lyrical eye.

When practicing presence, resist the desire to represent and analyze. Just strive to be present and eloquent so you can let philosophy, poetry, and religion merge.

How to read lyrical philosophy

Understand what is said, how it is said, and how it affects your own sensibilities.

I listen to what is said, how it is said, and how it elicits my own sensibilities and soul. What is said could be a simple declaration “Be yourself.” We get the dictionary meaning of each word if not a message. How it is said begins to fill in meaning beyond mere recitation of sounds. It might be rebuking (“Stop playing the clown!” Or, encouraging. “Just relax, you’ll do fine!”). Third, I might register my existential response. As I hear, “Be Yourself!” I might ask if I personally avoid—or embrace or am just baffled by “Be Yourself!”

We wonder if we sense what they sense

How to write lyrical philosophy

“Philosophy necessarily stands in the radiance of what is beautiful and in the throes of what is holy.” (Heidegger) Strive to make the beautiful and the present be both radiantly present and strangely elusive.

The philosopher’s task is “to write the drama of life as it is.” To do this successfully, the philosopher must be able to communicate what actors “say, think, and feel, but also what they are expressing.” A successful philosophical account should provide a complete picture of life, different from the “incompleteness” of academic philosophy, which avoids discussion of passionate utterances. Reading a full account of the drama of life should make us “feel the very tang of life itself.”

A complete philosophical account includes an answer to why, explains so the reader can understand, and the reader would be able to “feel the very tang of life itself.”

Aspire for presence to leap from the page where you have written the way wonder leaps from the world.

  • Convey it as a dramatic living narrative.
  • ==Focus on seeking and conveying episodic felt-realities.


  • Value action and “a yielding soul.”
  • Focus on imaginative mulling, yielding, and listening
  • Let go of the need for mastery


  • Mix philosophy, religion, and literature
  • Self and soul
  • Acting and receiving
  • Thought and passion


  • Use narrative passages.

Aspire to write passionate speech by Cavell (See living philosophy by edward mooney)


Mooney, E. F. (2019). Living Philosophy in Kierkegaard, Melville, and Others: Intersections of Literature, Philosophy, and Religion. Bloomsbury Academic.