Truth, Fiction, and Literature: A Philosophical Perspective

Paperback | April 30, 1999

byPeter Lamarque, Stein Haugom Olsen

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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 isimportant for the truths that it imparts, the authors also reject attempts to cut off literature altogether from real human concerns. Their detailed account of fictionality, mimesis, and cognitive value helps restore to literature its distinctive status among cultural practices. The authors also explore the limits of fictionality, particularly in relation to metaphysical and sceptical views, prevalent in modern thought, according to which the world itself is a kind of fiction, and truth no more than a cultural construct. They identify different conceptions of fiction inscience, 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 thoughtprocesses. Both in their methods and in their conclusions, Lamarque and Olsen aim to bring much-needed rigour 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.

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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 isimportant for the truths that it imparts, the au...

Peter Lamarque is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Hull, England, and has recently been appointed Editor of the British Journal of Aesthetics. He has been a Visiting Fellow at the University of Tsukuba (Japan) and the Australian National University. He is the editor of Philosophy and Fiction: Essays in Literary Aesthetic...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:494 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 1.1 inPublished:April 30, 1999Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198236816

ISBN - 13:9780198236818

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Table of Contents

1. Setting the Scene2. The Practice of Storytelling3. Truth-Value and Pretence4. Content and Characters5. Reference and `About'6. Aspects, Points of View, Objectivity7. Metaphysics and Fictions8. Truth-Making and World-Making9. Narrative and Imagination10. Literary Practice11. Literature and Fiction12. The Theory of Novelistic Truth13. The Propositional Theory of Literary Truth14. Metaphorical Truth15. Literature as Philosophy16. The Mimetic Aspect of Literature17. Fiction, Literature, and ValueBibliography, Index

Editorial Reviews

`Their "no truth" theory is a welcome corrective to strongly cognitivist views and deserves to become an important source in the debate about the nature and value of literature.'Berys Gaut, University of St. Andrews