"Fiction Cannot Be True" (Philosophical Studies, forthcoming)
According to the dominant theory of intentionalism, fiction and non-fiction are in a “mix-and-match” relationship with truth and falsity: both fiction and nonfiction can be either true or false. Intentionalists hold that fiction is a property of a narrative that is intended to elicit not belief but imagination or make-belief in virtue of the audience’s recognizing that such is the intention of the fiction-maker. They claim that in unlikely circumstances these fictions can turn out to be accidentally true. On the contrary, I argue in this paper that fictionality and truth are incompatible. I distinguish narratives based on whether they contain invented characters or not, and offer respective sets of arguments to the effect that there is no case when a fiction is accidentally true. A narrative is either fiction or accidentally true but not both.
"What Mary Didn't Read: On Literary Narratives and Knowledge" (Ratio, 2016)
In the philosophy of art, one of the most important debates concerns the so-called ‘cognitive value’ of literature. The main question is phrased in various ways. Can literary narratives provide knowledge? Can readers learn from works of literature? Most of the discussants agree on an affirmative answer, but it is contested what the relevant notions of truth and knowledge are and whether this knowledge and learning influence aesthetic or literary value. The issue takes on a wider, not only philosophical, importance as it is one of the central tenets of humanistic education that art and literature are valuable not only because the pleasure they afford.
This paper offers a new line of argument in departing from propositional truth, arguing that literary narratives provide aesthetically significant knowledge, however, this knowledge cannot be captured in propositional form. My position depends crucially on Frank Jackson's influential knowledge argument. The paper describes a modified ‘What Mary Didn't Read’ case. In doing so, it is argued that the knowledge literary works provide should be understood as a type of experiential knowing of ‘what it is like’ analogous to what Mary acquires in the original case of seeing a new colour for the first time.
- Jukka Mikkonen's The Cognitive Value of Philosophical Fiction (Philosophy & Literature, 2016)
- David Herman's Storytelling and the Sciences of Mind (The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 2015)
- Peter Lamarque's The Opacity of Narrative (British Journal of Aesthetics, 2015)
- Derek Matravers's Fiction and Narrative (American Society for Aesthetics Graduate E-journal, 2015)
- Élodie Boublil & Christine Daigle (eds.) Nietzsche and Phenomenology: Power, Life, Subjectivity (Journal of Nietzsche Studies, 2015)
Philosophy and Popular Culture
- "Rooting for the Villain: Frank Underwood and the Lack of Imaginative Resistance." In House of Cards and Philosophy (ed. J. E. Hackett), Wiley-Blackwell, 2015.
- “Infinite Lighthouses, Infinite Stories: BioShock and the Aesthetics of Video Game Storytelling.” In BioShock and Philosophy (ed. L. Cuddy), Wiley-Blackwell, 2015.
- “My Dad, the Jihadist Murderer: Traumatized Brody and the Philosophy of Personal Identity.” In Homeland and Philosophy (ed. R. Arp), Open Court Publishing, 2014.