Literature and Truthfulness

  • Gregory Currie
Part of the Studies in History and Philosophy of Science book series (AUST, volume 28)


How should we characterise the view that we can learn about the mind from literature? Should we say that such learning consists in acquiring knowledge of truths? That option is more attractive than it is sometimes made to seem by those who oppose propositional knowledge to practical knowledge or “knowing how”. But some writers on this topic—Lamarque and Olsen—argue that, while literature may express interesting propositions, it is not their truth that matters, but their “content”. Matters to what? To literary criticism, they reply: there is no place in criticism for “debate about the truth or falsity of general statements about human life or the human condition.” I argue, to the contrary, that ideas of truth and truthfulness are woven into the fabric of a kind of criticism that is widespread now and comes with a long and distinguished history.


Human Nature Positive View Literary Criticism Literary Work Literary Representation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Philosophy, Faculty of ArtsUniversity of NottinghamNottinghamUK

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