The Cognitive Value of Philosophical Fiction

Bloomsbury Academic (2013)
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Abstract

Can literary fictions convey significant philosophical views, understood in terms of propositional knowledge? This study addresses the philosophical value of literature by examining how literary works impart philosophy truth and knowledge and to what extent the works should be approached as communications of their authors. Beginning with theories of fiction, it examines the case against the prevailing ‘pretence’ and ‘make-believe’ theories of fiction hostile to propositional theories of literary truth. Tackling further arguments against the cognitive function and value of literature, this study illustrates how literary works can contribute to knowledge by making assertions and suggestions and by providing hypotheses for the reader to assess. Through clear analysis of the concept of the author, the role of the authorial intention and the different approaches to the ‘meaning’ of a literary work, this study provides an historical survey to the cognitivist—anti-cognitivist dispute, introducing contemporary trends in the discussion before presenting a novel approach to recognizing the cognitive function of literature. An important contribution to philosophical studies of literature and knowledge.

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2012-08-24

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Jukka Mikkonen
University of Jyväskylä

Citations of this work

Knowledge by Imagination - How Imaginative Experience Can Ground Knowledge.Fabiab Dorsch - forthcoming - Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy.
Fact, Fiction and Virtual Worlds.Alexandre Declos - 2020 - In R. Pouivet & V. Granata (eds.), Épistémologie de l'esthétique : perspectives et débats. Rennes, France: Presses Universitaires de Rennes. pp. 195-219.
Fiction.Fred Kroon - forthcoming - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
The Transcendental Argument of the Novel.Gilbert Plumer - 2017 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 3 (2):148-167.

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References found in this work

Why Read Literature? The Cognitive Function of Form.Wolfgang Huemer - 2007 - In John Gibson, Wolfgang Huemer & Luca Pocci (eds.), A Sense of the world. Essays on Fiction, Narrative and Knowledge. Routledge. pp. 233-245.

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