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Imagining and KnowingThe Shape of Fiction$
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Gregory Currie

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780199656615

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199656615.001.0001

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Fiction, truth, and the transmission of belief

Fiction, truth, and the transmission of belief

(p.150) 9 Fiction, truth, and the transmission of belief
Imagining and Knowing

Gregory Currie

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on the ways in which we acquire propositional beliefs, and sometimes knowledge, from fictions. It distinguishes between pathways to belief that depend on sub-rational mechanisms such as heuristics and biases, and pathways that encourage rational reflection on the issues in hand. It suggests a mechanism for generating reasonably reliable factual beliefs from fictions, but emphasizes the difficulty of extending this account to cover the evaluative propositions more often celebrated as the fruits of engagement with literature. It concludes by considering the case for saying that whatever we may learn from fiction has nothing to do with the literary value of the work itself. I argue that this cannot be the correct view.

Keywords:   propositions, testimony, reliability, trust, literary value, Lamarque

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