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 Volume 17/1, includes forum "Narrative Selves"
 January 2019

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 June 2018

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 Quick Article Search

   Newest Articles

 Response Essay
 Monika Fludernik

 Experience, Affect, and Literary Lists
 Eva von Contzen

 Posthuman Narration as a Test Bed for Experientiality
 Marco Caracciolo

 The Curse of Realism
 Karin Kukkonen

 More than Minds
 Jonas Grethlein

 Toward the Non-Natural
 Maria Mäkelä

 Two Conceptions of Experientiality and Narrativity
 Dan Shen

 Against Nature
 Brian McHale

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Updated Up To 26/06/2018
Volume 15, issue 2 (June 2017) : 263-289
The New Propositionalism

Bernard Harrison and John Gibson
Rubric A: Literature and Philosophy
Rubric B: English Poetry

This essay explores the philosophical foundations of the concept of literary humanism: the idea, roughly, that works of literary fiction offer a distinct form of epistemic insight into social and cultural reality. We develop our account by way of a critique of Richard Gaskin’s recent defense of literary humanism, according to which literary works achieve their cognitive significance by referring to linguistically structured propositions that provide the link to truth and reality. Against this, we urge a broadly Wittgensteinian model of literary humanism that rejects the metaphysics of the proposition and in its place casts literature as having special ability to reveal the irreducibly cultural grounds of meaning. We conclude with a reading of W. B. Yeats’ “A Prayer for my Daughter,” which illustrates the claim central to a Wittgensteinian model of literary humanism: in certain works of literature we gain insight into the nature of those sense-bestowing cultural practices in virtue of which we make our world meaningful.
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