Philosophers of literature do not take much of an interest in autobiography.1 In one sense this is not surprising. As a certain prejudice has it, autobiography is, along with biography, the preferred reading of people who do not really like to read. The very words can conjure up images of what one finds on bookshelves in Florida retirement communities and in underfunded public libraries, books with titles like Under the Rainbow: The Real Liza Minnelli or Me: Stories of My Life (...) (Katharine Hepburn).2 Hardly rousing material, at least from the philosophical point of view. But on a moment’s reflection, it becomes clear that the initial prejudice is unfounded. Never mind the fact that there are obviously .. (shrink)
While narrative has been one of the liveliest and most productive areas of research in literary theory, discussions of the nature of emotional responses to art and of the cognitive value of art tend to concentrate almost exclusively on the problem of fiction: How can we emote over or learn from fictions? Narrative, Emotion, and Insight explores what would happen if aestheticians framed the matter differently, having narratives—rather than fictional characters and events—as the object of emotional and cognitive attention. The (...) book thus opens up new possibilities for approaching questions about the ethical, educative, and cultural value of art. The nine essays in this volume introduce the study of narrative to contemporary aesthetics. (shrink)
While narrative has been one of liveliest and most productive areas of research in literary theory, discussions of the nature of emotional responses to art and of the cognitive value of art tend to concentrate almost exclusively on the problem of fiction: How can we emote over or learn from fictions? Narrative, Emotion, and Insight explores what would happen if aestheticians framed the matter differently, having narratives—rather than fictional characters and events—as the object of emotional and cognitive attention. The book (...) thus opens up new possibilities for approaching questions about the ethical, educative, and cultural value of art. The nine essays in this volume introduce the study of narrative to contemporary aesthetics. (shrink)
Cognitivism in respect to the arts refers to a constellation of positions that share in common the idea that artworks often bear, in addition to aesthetic value, a significant kind of cognitive value. In this paper I concentrate on three things: (i) the challenge of understanding exactly what one must do if one wishes to defend a cognitivist view of the arts; (ii) common anti-cognitivist arguments; and (iii) promising recent attempts to defend cognitivism.
A team of leading scholars have been brought together in this impressive book to examine how works of literary fiction can be a source of knowledge. Together, they analyze the important trends in this current popular debate.
: Before women could become visible as philosophers, they had first to become visible as rational autonomous thinkers. A social and ethical position holding that chastity was the most important virtue for women, and that rationality and chastity were incompatible, was a significant impediment to accepting women's capacity for philosophical thought. Thus one of the first tasks for women was to confront this belief and argue for their rationality in the face of a self-referential dilemma.
It is often assumed that literary meaning is essentially linguistic in nature and that literary interpretation is therefore a purely linguistic affair. This essay identifies a variety of literary meaning that cannot be reduced to linguistic meaning. Meaning of this sort is generated not by a communicative act so much as through a creative one: the construction of a fictional world. The way in which a fictional world can bear meaning turns out to be strikingly unlike the way a sentence (...) can, and this, I argue, has important implications for the theory of interpretation. (shrink)
Background Planning for the next pandemic influenza outbreak is underway in hospitals across the world. The global SARS experience has taught us that ethical frameworks to guide decision-making may help to reduce collateral damage and increase trust and solidarity within and between health care organisations. Good pandemic planning requires reflection on values because science alone cannot tell us how to prepare for a public health crisis. Discussion In this paper, we present an ethical framework for pandemic influenza planning. The ethical (...) framework was developed with expertise from clinical, organisational and public health ethics and validated through a stakeholder engagement process. The ethical framework includes both substantive and procedural elements for ethical pandemic influenza planning. The incorporation of ethics into pandemic planning can be helped by senior hospital administrators sponsoring its use, by having stakeholders vet the framework, and by designing or identifying decision review processes. We discuss the merits and limits of an applied ethical framework for hospital decision-making, as well as the robustness of the framework. Summary The need for reflection on the ethical issues raised by the spectre of a pandemic influenza outbreak is great. Our efforts to address the normative aspects of pandemic planning in hospitals have generated interest from other hospitals and from the governmental sector. The framework will require re-evaluation and refinement and we hope that this paper will generate feedback on how to make it even more robust. (shrink)
A viable theory of literary humanism must do justice to the idea that literature offers cognitive rewards to the careful reader. There are, however, powerful arguments to the effect that literature is at best only capable of offering idle visions of a world already well known. In this essay I argue that there is a form of cognitive awareness left unmentioned in the traditional vocabulary of knowledge acquisition, a form of awareness literature is particularly capable of offering. Thus even if (...) it is the case that literature has nothing interesting to give us in the way of knowledge, the literary humanist can consistently maintain that literary experience is thoroughly cognitive. (shrink)