Article

Literature

Paisley Livingston

in The Oxford Handbook of Aesthetics

Published in print January 2005 | ISBN: 9780199279456
Published online September 2009 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199279456.003.0030

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Philosophy

 Literature

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Claims about the essence of literature have not always been motivated by the goal of identifying the proper object of a field of scientific research. Sometimes the point has been to denounce literature as a source of mimetic corruption and deceit. More frequently, great moral or epistemic value has been attributed to literature, where what is really meant is ‘literature at its best’. One example — among hundreds — is Maurice Blanchot's characterization of literature as a sceptical process crucial to a kind of existential authenticity. A plausible complaint about such theorizings is that they overlook the importance of recognizing the existence of bad literature, and of good literature that happens to lack those virtues the theorist cares to promote.

Keywords: essence of literature; scientific research; mimetic corruption; epistemic value; existential authenticity; good literature

Article.  9041 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art

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