Literature and Knowledge

John Gibson

in The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy and Literature

Published in print April 2009 | ISBN: 9780195182637
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Philosophy

 Literature and Knowledge

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This article presents thoughts about the role of literature as a source of knowledge. It is common to claim that in works of literature we find some of the most powerful representations of reality our culture has to offer. According to this view, the literary perspective is the definitive human perspective and works of literature represent cognitive achievements and embody ways of knowing the world. This article attempts to give a sense of how powerful the arguments against the cognitivist view of literature are and to bring to light how the philosopher beholden to it might respond to them. It argues that we must accept that literature's particular manner of engaging with reality is sui generis because it constitutes its own form of cognitive insight and shows that literature's cognitive achievements are intimately bound up with its aesthetic achievements.

Keywords: literature; knowledge; culture; human perspective; cognitive achievements; reality; aesthetic achievements

Article.  10313 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art

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