Poetic Knowledge Book Club: Connatural, Intentional, and Intuitive Knowledge, part 2

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For information and previous posts, see the page for this Poetic Knowledge Book Club

This week we are covering part 2 of Chapter 3: Connatural, Intentional, and Intuitive Knowledge (pages 75-). Next week we will read Chapter 4, part 1: Descartes and the Cartesian Legacy (pages 87-105).

Chapter 3, part 2: Connatural, Intentional, and Intuitive Knowledge


In this chapter, Taylor introduces the modern defenders of poetic knowledge; these gentlemen (primarily Jacques Maritian and Josef Pieper) are more explicit about the details of poetic (or musical or leisurely or aesthetic) knowledge because the scientific, rational mode is now preeminent in the modern era.

Poetic Mode

There are three elements of poetic knowledge, each one growing and maturing into the next until poetic knowledge reaches its deepest point: connaturality.

  1. Intuitive: memory acting upon sensory images; a spontaneous awareness of being
  2. Intentional: prelogical knowledge; far from rational or analytic knowing; sympathetic inclination toward its object; love allows the object to be itself.
  3. Connatural: participation; sharing; ordered appetites and tastes; engagement with the truth; a disposition of the will to act in accordance with truth that is owned and internalized.


Leisure is a necessary part of celebration, of feasting, of experiencing life as an integrated whole. This sense of celebration, of experience, should permeate our education as well.

It is the life of poetry and the poetic sense of things to feast, that is to celebrate the reality that can only be found in leisure. It is the natureal, preconscious mind that celebrates the illumination of things, as a song stirs the heart, the rhythms move the body to dance.

Summary Quote

[T]he recognition and restoration of [poetic knowledge] is absolutely prerequisite for the restoration of humane education.

Readers’ Rabbit Trails

Discussion Question

It is in this way that the habit of poetry, the habit of the poetic view of things, take raw experiences and forms them into essences. […] When this habit of poetic knowledge is discovered in the life of the teacher, all subjects are seen in a new light. (p. 84)

What is this “habit of poetic knowledge”? What does it look like? What does it entail? How do we get it? How do we give it?

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