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The Oedipus Plays of SophoclesPhilosophical Perspectives$
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Paul Woodruff

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190669447

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190669447.001.0001

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Oedipus Tyrannus and the Cognitive Value of Literature

Oedipus Tyrannus and the Cognitive Value of Literature

Chapter 1 Oedipus Tyrannus and the Cognitive Value of Literature
The Oedipus Plays of Sophocles

Noël Carroll

Oxford University Press

There is a long-standing skeptical position among philosophers regarding the cognitive value of literature. In this essay, using Sophocles’s Oedipus Tyrannus as viewed through Aristotle’s Poetics, I will attempt to undermine the skeptical case against the cognitive value of literature as advanced in terms of the no-evidence argument, the evidentially tainted argument, the no-argument argument, and the banality argument. By defeating these arguments, with reference to Oedipus Tyrannus, I hope to establish the possibility that literature can serve as a vehicle for the communication of general empirical knowledge and philosophical knowledge or, at least, to shift the burden of proof in this debate back to the skeptic.

Keywords:   Aristotle, Martha Nussbaum, Peter Kivy, empirical knowledge, philosophical knowledge, no-evidence argument, evidentially tainted argument, no-argument argument, banality argument, catharsis

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