On the Body of Literary Persuasion

Estetika 47 (1):51-71 (2010)
In the analytic philosophy of literature, a common objection to the cognitive value of literary narrative fiction has been that literary works do not argue for the genuine truths they may contain. The argument maintains that although literary works could make or imply humanly interesting truth-claims, the works do not reason or justify the claims and thus they do not make significant contributions to knowledge. In this paper, I shall argue that literary works have distinct cognitive significance in changing their readers’ beliefs. In particular, I shall discuss so-called philosophical fictions and truth-claims (thematic statements considered as authorial assertions) they may imply. Leaning broadly on Aristotle’s view of the enthymeme, I shall argue that a work of literary fiction persuades readers of its truths by its dramatic structure, by illustrating or implying the suppressed conclusion (or other parts missing in the argument). Further, I shall suggest that it is exactly this ‘literary persuasion’ which distinguishes literary works from merely didactic works prone to overt “argumentation” and instruction.
Keywords literature  fiction  truth  knowledge  argumentation  persuasion  enthymeme  Aristotle
Categories (categorize this paper)
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
Edit this record
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Mark as duplicate
Request removal from index
Revision history
Download options
Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 29,530
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
Philosophical Fiction and the Act of Fiction-Making.Jukka Mikkonen - 2008 - SATS: Northern European Journal of Philosophy 9 (2):116-132.
Truth and the 'Work' of Literary Fiction.Edward Harcourt - 2010 - British Journal of Aesthetics 50 (1):93-97.
Implicit Assertions in Literary Fiction.Jukka Mikkonen - forthcoming - Proceedings of the European Society for Aesthetics, Vol. 2.
Assertions in Literary Fiction.Jukka Mikkonen - 2009 - Minerva - An Internet Journal of Philosophy 13:144-180.
Contemplation and Hypotheses in Literature.Jukka Mikkonen - 2010 - Philosophical Frontiers 5 (1):73-83.
Added to PP index

Total downloads
87 ( #63,514 of 2,210,873 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
3 ( #154,249 of 2,210,873 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads
My notes
Sign in to use this feature