The role of allegories in philosophical text

  • A. V. Kulik Oles Honchar Dnipropetrovsk national university
Keywords: allegories, philosophical text, hermeneutics, history of philosophy, understanding


Big attention to various theoretical aspects of allegories’ use in philosophical texts was paid by Friedrich Schelling, Friedrich Schleiermacher and Johann Goethe. Some modern researchers gained considerable results in interpreting the allegories of different authors into philosophy. For example, Seth Lerer explored allegories in the texts of Boethius, Jerrold Seigel, which were engaged in the interpretation of the allegories in texts of the Italian humanists. E. Titar explored allegories in G. Skovoroda’s writings. Also there are studies in which their authors have raised questions about functioning of allegories in the philosophical text. We mean the researches by I. McCaffrey, E. Akishina and other authors. At the same time, we have not met studies that would try to give a holistic view of the role of allegory in philosophical texts. The purpose of the paper is to scrutinize the role of allegories in philosophical texts. It has been showed that allegories have important place in texts of some notable philosophers. Friedrich Schelling’s ideas about essence of allegories have been analyzed, Friedrich Schleiermacher’s concepts about peculiarity of philosophical allegories, Arthur Schopenhauer’s thoughts about content of allegories have been described. In the process of analyzing six characteristic features of philosophical allegories’ use have been emphasized. First, the use of allegories enables a philosopher to give his theories by expressing his general ideas through particular specimens. Second, authors use allegories not only for the literal interpretation by a reader. Allegories have only figurative meaning. Third, allegories in the philosophy are used to express concepts. That is, philosophical allegories do not lead their reader to the sphere of artistic images. They lead to philosophical concepts. Consequently, fourth, allegories occupy a completely legitimate place in the toolbox of a philosopher, whose idea, in fact, is to work with the concepts. Fifth, allegories are an appropriate way to express such difficult philosophical notions as ‘absolute’, etc. Sixth, allegories enable the philosopher to express his concepts brightly as allegories evoke in the reader not only intellectual reasoning but also some esthetic reaction. These characteristic features of using philosophical allegories in texts of Boethius, Giambattista Vico and Denis Diderot have been checked by the author. Moreover, the issue of needlessness of allegories has been discussed. John Locke’s criticism concerning allegories’ use in philosophical texts and Ernest Nagel’s ideas about importance of philosophical allegories has been compared.


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How to Cite
Kulik, A. (2016). The role of allegories in philosophical text. Grani, 19(11), 84-88.