Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Imagining and KnowingThe Shape of Fiction$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Gregory Currie

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780199656615

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199656615.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 23 July 2021

An empirical question?

An empirical question?

(p.96) 6 An empirical question?
Imagining and Knowing

Gregory Currie

Oxford University Press

This book asks whether, in what circumstances, and to what degree we learn from fiction. But it may be objected that that is the wrong question. The philosophically interesting question about fiction, it may be said, is not whether people do learn from it but ‘What is there to be learned?’ Answering this question requires analytical and interpretive effort, not the provision of evidence, either of an experimental kind or derived from common experience. This chapter is devoted to the task of undermining the objection. It is argued that an inquiry into the epistemic status of fiction must be in part an empirical one, though it is emphasized that the right kinds of empirical evidence may be very hard to obtain. One objection to this approach is that it suggests a need to radically revise our ways of approaching and appreciating works of fiction. There is some justice in the concern, and it is suggested that revision is best avoided by thinking of ourselves as engaged, not in learning, but in a pretence of learning.

Keywords:   fiction, learning, evidence, the a priori, pretence

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .