Date of Project


Document Type

Honors Thesis

School Name

College of Arts and Sciences



Major Advisor

Dr. Evanthia Speliotis

Second Advisor

Dr. John Gatton

Third Advisor

Dr. Davis Mosley


Many writers and philosophers have asked “What is art?” or “What is philosophy?” but it is difficult to encounter a text where these questions are set beside each other. Many works of philosophy appear very literary in form and content, just as there are many literary works that are very philosophical in nature. This essay examines the intersection of literature and philosophy, using Kant’s Critique of Judgement as a way into analyzing Plato’s Phaedo, as an example of literary philosophy; and Shakespeare’s Hamlet, as an example of philosophical literature. The first section deals with literature and philosophy as texts, looking at the relationship these texts have with facts, details, and the different kinds of abstractions that each type of text concerns itself with. The second section deals with literature and philosophy as disciplines and areas of study, examining the different ways in which these texts are studied and evaluated as works of literature or works of philosophy. This discussion can help to illuminate the distinctions between literary philosophy and philosophical literature, as well as the strengths of each discipline, and what might be necessary for a text to succeed both as a work of literature and as a work of philosophy.