Philosophical Frontiers 5 (1):73-83 (2010)

Jukka Mikkonen
Tampere University
In literary aesthetics, the debate on whether literary fictions provide propositional knowledge generally centres around the question whether there are authors’ explicit or implicit truth-claims in literary works and whether the reader’s act of looking for and assessing such claims as true or false is an appropriate stance toward the works as literary works. Nevertheless, in reading literary fiction, readers cannot always be sure whether the author is actually asserting or suggesting a view she expresses or presents because of the artistic and imaginative nature of the work. In this essay, I shall argue that in addition to asserting and suggesting, authors make use of a third way of conveying knowledge by their works: they invite the reader to genuinely or extra-fictionally contemplate unasserted thoughts or viewpoints to a given issue, or they offer hypotheses or provide the reader fictional material for constructing a hypothesis. The aim of this essay is to examine this rather unanalyzed but extremely wide grey zone: the author’s act of ‘contemplating’ and the cognitive value of its products which I shall call ‘literary hypotheses.’
Keywords literature  fiction  cognitive value  knowledge  hypothesis  contemplation
Categories (categorize this paper)
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Translate to english
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 62,513
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles


Added to PP index

Total views
28 ( #388,496 of 2,446,488 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #456,659 of 2,446,488 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes