Narrating the Truth (More or Less)
While aestheticians have devoted substantial attention to the possibility of acquiring knowledge from fiction, little of this attention has been directed at the acquisition of factual information. This neglect does not stem from a denial that we acquire such information from fictions; it is usually taken for granted that one can learn a great deal about whaling from Melville’s Moby Dick or about World War I mining from Sebastian Faulk’s Birdsong. The neglect can instead be traced to the assumption that the task of aesthetics is to explain the special cognitive value of fiction. While the value of many works of non-fiction may be measured, in part, by their ability to transmit information, most works of fiction lack such a didactic aim. Thus, many of us conclude that the transmission of information is irrelevant to the value of such works.
KeywordsDefend Editing Harness Dick Glean
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