“But Is It Science Fiction?”: Science Fiction and a Theory of Genre

Midwest Studies in Philosophy 39 (1):1-28 (2015)
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Abstract

If science fiction is a genre, then attempts to think about the nature of science fiction will be affected by one’s understanding of what genres are. I shall examine two approaches to genre, one dominant but inadequate, the other better, but only occasionally making itself seen. I shall then discuss several important, interrelated issues, focusing particularly on science fiction : what it is for a work to belong to a genre, the semantics of genre names, the validity of attempts to define genres, and the connections between genre and normativity. One important but neglected clue to the nature of genres lies in the kinds of disagreements they generate over the assignment of works to genres. I conclude by explaining why these disagreements tell us something about the nature of genres, and discussing in some detail two famous cases of disagreement about whether some work or works are science fiction

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Simon Evnine
University of Miami

Citations of this work

Exploding stories and the limits of fiction.Michel-Antoine Xhignesse - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 178 (3):675-692.
Science Fiction as a Genre.Enrico Terrone - 2021 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 79 (1):16-29.
The Problem of Genre Explosion.Evan Malone - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
The Ontology and Aesthetics of Genre.Evan Malone - 2024 - Philosophy Compass 19 (1):e12958.

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References found in this work

IX.—Essentially Contested Concepts.W. B. Gallie - 1956 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 56 (1):167-198.
Categories of Art.Kendall L. Walton - 1970 - Philosophical Review 79 (3):334-367.
W. B. Gallie’s “Essentially Contested Concepts”.W. B. Gallie - 1994 - Inquiry: Critical Thinking Across the Disciplines 14 (1):2-2.
Fiction as a Genre.Stacie Friend - 2012 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 112 (2pt2):179--209.

View all 21 references / Add more references