Both sides of the story: Explaining events in a narrative [Book Review]

Philosophical Studies 135 (1):49 - 63 (2007)
Our experience of narrative has an internal and an external aspect--the content of the narrative’s representations, and its intentional, communicative aetiology. The interaction of these two things is crucial to understanding how narrative works. I begin by laying out what I think we can reasonably expect from a narrative by way of causal information, and how causality interacts with other attributes we think of as central to narrative. At a certain point this discussion will strike a problem: our judgements about what is a relevant possibility within the narrative’s story depend on our judgements of probability; but these latter judgements depend, in turn, on factors external to the world of the story, and cannot be explained in terms of causal relations available within the story. We need the external, author-centred perspective at this point. These different perspectives, the internal and the external, correspond to different types of explanations we may give of events in a story; I call these internal and external explanations. I show how these different explanations are made use of in two contrasting arthistorical projects. I use these examples as the basis for a generalisation about the structure of the two explanatory forms. Finally, I suggest some ways in which explanations of these two kinds relate to one another, and to our thinking when we are engaged by a narrative.
Keywords Narrative  Narration  Representation  Story  Causality  Intention
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DOI 10.2307/40208794
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Kendall L. Walton (1970). Categories of Art. Philosophical Review 79 (3):334-367.

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