This book examines the complex and varied ways in which fictions relate to the real world, and offers a precise account of how imaginative works of literature can use fictional content to explore matters of universal human interest. While rejecting the traditional view that literature is important for the truths that it imparts, the authors also reject attempts to cut literature off altogether from real human concerns. Their detailed account of fictionality, mimesis, and cognitive value, founded on (...) the methods of analytical philosophy, restores to literature its distinctive status among cultural practices. The authors also explore metaphysical and skeptical views, prevalent in modern thought, according to which the world itself is a kind of fiction, and truth no more than a social construct. They identify different conceptions of fiction in science, logic, epistemology, and make-believe, and thereby challenge the idea that discourse per se is fictional and that different modes of discourse are at root indistinguishable. They offer rigorous analyses of the roles of narrative, imagination, metaphor, and "making" in human thought processes. Both in their methods and in their conclusions, Lamarque and Olsen aim to restore rigor and clarity to debates about the values of literature, and to provide new, philosophically sound foundations for a genuine change of direction in literary theorizing. (shrink)
In general, most, but not necessarily all, patients want truthfulness about their health. Available evidence indicates that truth-telling practices and preferences are, to an extent, a cultural artefact. It is the case that practices among nurses and doctors have moved towards more honest and truthful disclosure to their patients. It is interesting that arguments both for and against truth-telling are established in terms of autonomy and physical and psychological harm. In the literature reviewed here, there is also (...) the view that truth-telling is essential because it is an intrinsic good, while it is argued against on the grounds of the uncertainty principle. Based on this review, it is recommended that practitioners ought to ask patients and patients' families what informational requirements are preferred, and research should continue into truth-telling in clinical practice, particularly to discover its very nature as a cultural artefact, and the other conditions and contexts in which truth-telling may not be preferred. (shrink)
The article is based upon the following starting position. In this post-modern time, it seems that no scholar in Europe supports what is called “Enlightenment Project” with its naïve objectivism and Correspondence Theory of Truth1, - though not being really hostile, just strongly skeptical about it. No old-fasioned “classical” academical texts; only His Majesty Discourse as chain of interpretations and reinterpretations. What was called objectivity “proved to be” intersubjectivity; what was called Object (in Latin and German and Russian tradition) now (...) is related to as a phenomenon; what was called Subject either is looked upon as Cartesian “cogito” or disappeares at all; what was called Truth turned to be either method of demonstration (by positivists) or the author’s sincerity (by existentialists); what was called Essence is now merely a joke. Alternatively, we speak about Sense, Meaning, and Value. (shrink)
n this essay I want to offer an analysis of the structure of the fictional emotions that we have reading novels. I shall start with a presentation of the structure of emotions in general and their relation to aesthetic fiction. Afterwards, I shall offer a critical review of the current positions on fictional emotions. The aim of this section is to question the presuppositions that dominate the current debate on fictional emotions in particular and on emotions in general. Finally, I (...) shall develop my own account on this issue. The thesis that I am going to defend is that fictional emotions possess doxastic and practical rationality and that they are full fledged emotional experiences the reality of which we should not doubt, even though they show some peculiarities. -/- Key Words: Fictional emotion, quasi-emotion, doxastic rationality, practical rationality, assumption. (shrink)
The book is about three things. First, how Ancient thinkers perceived humans as like or unlike other animals; second about the justification for taking a humane attitude towards natural things; and third about how moral claims count as true, and how they can be discovered or acquired. Was Aristotle was right to see continuity in the psychological functions of animal and human souls? The question cannot be settled without taking a moral stance. As we can either focus on continuity or (...) on discontinuities, how should natural science draw the boundaries? Moral agents act and react in a world that they see under a certain description, and there is no value free science that can settle what is the correct description. This book asks us to think about where moral justification could come from, and suggests that the supposed ‘moral status’ of the object cannot provide the answer. For the moral status of the object is a product of our own imagination, and once we see that, we also see that there remains the question where we ought to have the will to see it. Furthermore, since the perception of moral truth involves the development of imagination and will, the means to attain it will be better served by engagement with poetry and literature than with enquiries that seek to exclude the engagement of the imagination, or any appeal to the beauty of nature or the love of one's fellow creatures. (shrink)
With only a few exceptions, the literary theme of madness has long been a domain of Western cultural studies. Much of Western writing represents madness as an inquiry into the deepest recesses of the mind, while the comparatively scarce Chinese tradition is generally defined by madness as a voice of social truth. This paper looks at five works of twentieth-century Chinese fiction that draw on socio-somatic aspects of madness to reflect upon social truths, suggesting that the inner voice of (...) subjectivity is perhaps not the only true voice of the self. (shrink)
In the contemporary analytic philosophy of literature and especially literary theory, the paradigmatic way of understanding the beliefs and attitudes expressed in works of literary narrative fiction is to attribute them to an implied author, an entity which the literary critic Wayne C. Booth introduced in his influential study The Rhetoric of Fiction. Roughly put, the implied author is an entity between the actual author and the narrator whose beliefs and attitudes cannot be appropriately ascribed to the actual author. (...) Over the decades, this “the author’s second self,” a construct the actual author is seen to create in her act of writing, has gained an established place in literary theory. In the philosophy of literature, in turn, the implied author has evolved into multiple entities; it has been represented and developed as, for instance, “the postulated author” (Alexander Nehamas), “the fictional author” (Gregory Currie) and “the model author” (Umberto Eco). -/- The aim of this paper is to suggest that although the implied author, and its philosophical counterparts, sheds light on certain types of narratives, it is insufficient in approaches which emphasize the truth-claims conveyed by a work. In what follows, I try to show that, first, from an ontological point of view, actual assertions in literary fiction, if any, have to be attributed to the actual author and, second, that the question of truth-claiming in and by literary fiction is an epistemological matter concerning the actual intentions of the author. -/- . (shrink)
Numinous spaces in British literature from William Wordsworth to Samuel Beckett -- Jesus figures in American literature from Ralph Waldo Emerson to Edward Albee -- Using Bakhtin's definitions to discover ethical voices in Solzhenitsyn and Tolstoy -- René Girard's categories of scapegoats in literature of the American South -- Hopkins's metaphysics of nature as sacred disclosure -- The book of job as mirrored in Hopkins's metaphysics -- Beckett's mythos of the absence of God.
Figuring Animals is a collection of fifteen essays concerning the representation of animals in literature, the visual arts, philosophy, and cultural practice. At the turn of the new century, it is helpful to reconsider our inherited understandings of the species, some of which are still useful to us. It is also important to look ahead to new understandings and new dialogue, which may contribute to the survival of us all. The contributors to this volume participate in this dialogue in (...) a variety of ways--through personal experience, natural history, cultural studies, philosophical inquiry, art history, literary analysis, film studies, and theoretical imagining, and through a combination of these trains of thought. The essays expose weaknesses in western epistemological frames of reference that for centuries have limited our views and, thus, our experiences of animal being, including our own. (shrink)
Fiction is often characterized by way of a contrast with truth, as, for example, in the familiar couplet “Truth is always strange/ Stranger than fiction" (Byron 1824). And yet, those who would maintain that “we will always learn more about human life and human personality from novels than from scientific psychology” (Chomsky 1988: 159) hold that some truth is best encountered via fiction. The scrupulous novelist points out that her work depicts no actual person, either living or (...) dead; nonetheless, we use names from fiction in ways that suggest that we take these names to refer. Philosophers who investigate fiction aim to reconcile such apparently incompatible phenomena, and, in general, to account for the myriad ways that we talk, think, and feel about fiction. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: Acknowledgments; Introduction: scales of identification; 1. Democratic expansionism, gothic geographies, and Charles Brockden Brown; 2. Urban apartments, global cities: the enlargement of private space in Poe and James; 3. Cultural orphans: domesticity, missionaries, and China from Stowe to Sui Sin Far; 4. 'The Checkered Globe': cosmopolitan despair in the American Pacific; 5. Literature and regional production; Epilogue: scales of resistance.
This article is a reply to an earlier piece by kenneth seeskin (philosophy and literature, 1982). I argue that socrates' defense is more of a parody of gorgian rhetoric than seeskin is willing to allow. They key lies in socrates' use of rhetoric to persuade the beliefs of the athenian jurors by means of probabilities. When replying to the expressed pretexts of the trial, He uses "base" rhetoric; when finally attending to the real reasons behind his accusations, He resorts (...) to "the truth about his life.". (shrink)
How should we characterise the view that we can learn about the mind from literature? Should we say that such learning consists in acquiring knowledge of truths? That option is more attractive than it is sometimes made to seem by those who oppose propositional knowledge to practical knowledge or “knowing how”. But some writers on this topic—Lamarque and Olsen—argue that, while literature may express interesting propositions, it is not their truth that matters, but their “content”. Matters to (...) what? To literary criticism, they reply: there is no place in criticism for “debate about the truth or falsity of general statements about human life or the human condition.” I argue, to the contrary, that ideas of truth and truthfulness are woven into the fabric of a kind of criticism that is widespread now and comes with a long and distinguished history. (shrink)
This paper responds to criticism of the Kripkean account of logical truth in first-order modal logic. The criticism, largely ignored in the literature, claims that when the box and diamond are interpreted as the logical modality operators, the Kripkean account is extensionally incorrect because it fails to reflect the fact that all sentences stating truths about what is logically possible are themselves logically necessary. I defend the Kripkean account by arguing that some true sentences about logical possibility are (...) not logically necessary. (shrink)
In this essay, I aim to engage Martin Heidegger’s and Karl Jaspers’s views of the tragic in critical dialogue in order to show that for both of these philosophers tragedy, in literature and in its philosophical interpretation, defines the relationships of thought to transcendence, of history to truth, I begin with an account of Jaspers’s treatment of the tragic, proceed to interpret Heidegger’s account of tragic poetry and his post-tragic notion of Gelassenheit, and finally outline the limitations of (...) tragedy as a model for historical truth, I will argue that the fact that these limitations are explicitly denoted and called for by Jaspers but are to some extent neglected by Heidegger is due to a difference between their philosophies with regard to the primacy, and perhaps their rival conceptions, of ontology. (shrink)
Works of fiction are often criticized for their historical inaccuracies. But this practice poses a problem: why would we criticize a work of fiction for its historical inaccuracy given that it is a work of fiction? There is an intuition that historical inaccuracies in works of fiction diminish their value as works of fiction; and yet, given that they are works of fiction, there is also an intuition that such works should be free from the constraints of historical truth. (...) The puzzle of historical criticism is that these intuitions are obviously in conflict, and yet we wish to give up neither. In this essay, I address the shortcomings of two seemingly intuitive strategies for solving the puzzle: the puzzle cannot be solved by appealing to historical constraints of a work’s genre, nor can it be explained as an instance of imaginative resistance. Given the failure of these two strategies, I suggest that there is no easy way to account for our conflicting intuitions and that the puzzle is deserving of greater attention. (shrink)
Thought experiments are employed for a number of reasons and in many different disciplines. This paper explores the work of Novalis in relation to the method of thought experiments in theology, with a special focus on the encounter between Christianity and the science of his day. In a first step I revisit the ongoing philosophical discussion on thought experiments in order to highlight the lack of interest in the literary features of thought experiments. Step two is dedicated to a discussion (...) of the work of Novalis as far as his metaphysics of phantasy and imagination is concerned as it plays out in his romantic poetry. Building on the results of this discussion, in a third step I discuss the relationship (a) between thought experiments in theology and other disciplines, (b) between current discussions of thought experiments and previous periods of philosophical investigation into the ‘laboratory of the mind’, (c) between Christianity and science, and (d) between literary fiction and cognition. (shrink)
While the study of transitional justice, and especially truth commissions, has gained in popularity over the past two decades, the literature is overwhelmingly focused on activities in democratizing states. This introduces a selection bias that interferes with proper analysis of causes and consequences of transitional justice on a global scale. In this paper, I discuss conditions under which new repressive elites, and even old repressive elites who survive to rule and repress in nominally new systems, may choose to (...) launch broad investigations of the past. I argue that such a decision is based on two primary considerations, the presence of internally or externally based incentives (e.g., foreign aid) and the level of political control enjoyed by old elites in the new system. I apply this argument to post-Soviet Central Asia, including a detailed case study of Uzbekistan’s 1999 truth commission based on domestic media analysis and local elite interviews. (shrink)
This article presents findings from a qualitative case study of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in rural Sierra Leone. It adds to the sparse literature directly evaluating local experiences of transitional justice mechanisms. It investigates the conceptual foundations of retributive and restorative approaches to postwar justice, and describes the emerging alternative argument demanding attention be paid to economic, cultural, and social rights in such transitional situations. The article describes how justice is defined in Makeni, a town in (...) Northern Sierra Leone, and shows that the TRC’s restorative approach was unable to generate a sense of postwar justice, and was, to many, experienced as a provocation. The conclusions support an alternative distributive conception of justice and show that local conception of rights, experiences of infringement and needs for redress, demand social, cultural, and economic considerations be taken seriously in transitional justice cases. (shrink)
Although the use of truth and reconciliation commissions (TRCs) has grown considerably over the last 3 decades, there is still much that we do not know concerning the choice and the structuring of TRCs. While the literature has focused primarily on the effects of TRCs, we examine the domestic and the international factors influencing the choice of a commission in sub-Saharan Africa from 1974 to 2003 using pooled cross-sectional time series. We find that states which adopted a TRC (...) prior to South Africa were generally repressive centralized regimes which used the truth commission as political cover. However, since South Africa’s TRC, democratizing states have been more likely to adopt a truth commission as a form of transitional justice. (shrink)
Robert Abrams argues that new concepts of space and landscape emerged in mid-nineteenth-century American writing, marking a linguistic and interpretative limit to American expansion. Abrams supports the radical elements of antebellum writing, where writers from Hawthorne to Rebecca Harding Davis disputed the naturalizing discourses of mid-nineteenth century society. Whereas previous critics find in antebellum writing a desire to convert chaos into an affirmative, liberal agenda, Abrams contends that authors of the 1840s and 50s deconstructed more than they constructed.
Is it possible for postmodernism to offer viable, coherent accounts of ethics? Or are our social and intellectual worlds too fragmented for any broad consensus about the moral life? These issues have emerged as some of the most contentious in literary and philosophical studies. In Renegotiating Ethics in Literature, Philosophy, and Theory a distinguished international gathering of philosophers and literary scholars address the reconceptualisations involved in this 'turn towards ethics'. An important feature of this has been a renewed interest (...) in the literary text as a focus for the exploration of ethical issues. Exponents of this trend include Charles Taylor, Bernard Williams, Iris Murdoch, Cora Diamond, Richard Rorty and Martha Nussbaum, the latter a contributor and a key figure in this volume. This book assesses the significance of this development for ethical and literary theory and attempts to articulate an alternative postmodern account of ethics which does not rely on earlier appeals to universal truths. (shrink)
While individuals presented in central texts of the period are indeed often alone or separated from others, Yousef regards this isolation as a problem the texts attempt to illuminate, rather than a condition they construct as normative or ...
Public discussions of ethical issues related to the biotechnology industry tend to treat “biotechnology” as a single, undifferentiated technology. Similarly, the pros and cons associated with this entire sector tend to get lumped together, such that individuals and groups often situate themselves as either “pro-” or “anti-” biotechnology as a whole. But different biotechnologies and their particular application context pose very different challenges for ethical corporate decision-making. Even within a single product category, different specialty products can pose strikingly different ethical (...) challenges. In this paper, we focus on the single over-arching category of “genetic testing” and compare tests for disease susceptibility and drug response. We highlight the diversity of ethical challenges – grouped under the broad categories of “truth in advertising” and “protecting intellectual property” – raised by the commercialization and marketing of these technologies. By examining social and technical differences between genetic tests, and the associated corporate ethics challenges posed by their commercialization, our intent is to contribute to the nascent business ethics literature examining issues raised by the development and marketing of genetic tests. (shrink)
This paper examines the complexity and fluidity of maternal identity through an examination of narratives about "real motherhood" found in children's literature. Focusing on the multiplicity of mothers in adoption, I question standard views of maternity in which gestational, genetic and social mothering all coincide in a single person. The shortcomings of traditional notions of motherhood are overcome by developing a fluid and inclusive conception of maternal reality as authored by a child's own perceptions.
This paper supplies a structuralist reconstruction of the Modigliani-Miller theory and shows that the economic literature following their results reports on research with an implicit strategy to come "closer-to-the-truth" in the modern technical sense in philosophy of science.
"Dishonesty inspires more euphemisms than copulation or defecation. This helps desensitize us to its implications. In the post-truth era we don't just have truth and lies but a third category of ambiguous statements that are not exactly the truth but fall just short of a lie. Enhanced truth it might be called. Neo-truth . Soft truth . Faux truth . Truth lite ." Deception has become the modern way of life. Where once (...) the boundary line between truth and lies was clear and distinct, it is no longer so. In the post-truth era, deceiving others has become a challenge, a game, a habit. High-profile dissemblers compete for news coverage, from journalists like Jayson Blair and professors like Joseph Ellis to politicians (of all stripes), executives, and "creative" accountants. Research suggests that the average American tells multiple lies on a daily basis, often for no good reason. Not a finger-wagging scolding, The Post-Truth Era is a combination of Ralph Keyes's investigative journalism and solid science. The result is a spirited exploration of why we lie about practically everything and the consequences such casual dishonesty has on society. American society has become permeated from top to bottom by deception. Its consequences for the nature of public discourse, media, business, literature, academia, and politics are profound. With dry humor, passionate fervor, and deep understanding, Ralph Keyes takes us on a tour of a world where truth and honesty are no longer absolutes but mutable, fluid concepts. (shrink)
Applying ideas drawn from contemporary critical theory, this book historicizes psychoanalysis through a new and significant theorization of the Gothic. The central premise is that the nineteenth-century Gothic produced a radical critique of accounts of sublimity and Freudian psychoanalysis. This book makes a major contribution to an understanding of both the nineteenth century and the Gothic discourse which challenged the dominant ideas of that period. Writers explored include Mary Shelley, Edgar Allan Poe, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Bram Stoker.
Introduction -- The muse of paralysis -- Horizon of conquest: Eugene Fromentin's Algerian narratives -- Slow progress: Jean Paulhan and Madagascar -- Frustration: Michel Leiris -- Atopia: Roland Barthes -- The wake of Ulysses.