Fictive Narrative Philosophy: How Fiction Can Act as Philosophy [1 ed.] 1138367338, 9781138367333

What is the philosophical voice within literature? Does literature have a voice of its own? Can this voice really be phi

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Fictive Narrative Philosophy: How Fiction Can Act as Philosophy [1 ed.]
 1138367338, 9781138367333

Table of contents :
Contents
Preface
Part 1: The Structure of the Traditional Paradigm
1 Narrative Fiction as Philosophically Interpreted in the Ancient Western World
2 Fiction as Philosophically Interpreted in the Modern and Contemporary Western World
Part 2: The Structure of the New Paradigm
3 What Makes an Artifact Philosophy?
4 Literature as Philosophy
5 The Special Logic of Fictive Narrative Philosophy
6 Constructional Devices
7 How Do We Judge Fictive Narrative Philosophy?
8 When Should We Use Fictive Narrative Philosophy and When Direct Discourse Philosophy?
9 How Might Fictive Narrative Philosophy Change the Academy?
Appendix 1: First-Order Metaethical Principles: Boylan’s Philosophical Work on Ethics and Personhood Theory as a First Step for Ethics and Fictive Narrative Philosophy
Appendix 2: My Own Work in Fictive Narrative Philosophy
Bibliography
Index

Citation preview

Fictive Narrative Philosophy

What is the philosophical voice within literature? Does literature have a voice of its own? Can this voice really be philosophical in its own right? In this book, Michael Boylan argues that some literary works indeed can make their own unique claims in different areas of philosophy. He calls this method “fictive narrative philosophy.” The first part of the book presents an overview of traditional thinking about philosophy and literature across classical, modern, and contemporary periods. It does not seek to denigrate these methods of studying literature, but rather to ask more of them. The second part then sets out a rigorous definition of what constitutes fictive narrative philosophy. This definition outlines detailed conceptions of the methods of presentation, audience engagement, logical mechanics, and constructional devices of fictive narrative philosophy. The author brings this definition to bear on individual authors and works that can be considered prime examples of fictive narrative philosophy. Finally, the book sets out why and when fictive narratives might be more favorable than traditional philosophical discourse, and how the concept of fictive narrative philosophy can move teaching and scholarship forward in a positive direction. Fictive Narrative Philosophy presents an entirely new and unique approach in which literature can be a form of philosophy. It will appeal to scholars and upper-level students interested in philosophy and literature. Michael Boylan is professor of philosophy at Marymount University. He is the author of 34 books and 138 essays covering literature, ethics/ political philosophy, and ancient philosophy of science. He has been an invited lecturer at major universities in 15 countries on 5 continents. He has served on national advisory committees in the United States and has been a fellow at think tanks such as the Center for American Progress and the Brookings Institution.

Routledge Research in Aesthetics

Michael Fried and Philosophy Modernism, Intention, and Theatricality Edited by Matthew Abbott The Aesthetics of Videogames Edited by Jon Robson and Grant Tavinor Tragedy and Redress in Western Literature A Philosophical Perspective Richard Gaskin The Pleasure of Pictures Pictorial Experience and Aesthetic Appreciation Edited by Jérôme Pelletier and Alberto Voltolini Thinking with Images An Enactivist Aesthetics John M Carvalho A Film-Philosophy of Ecology and Enlightment Rupert Read Fictive Narrative Philosophy How Fiction Can Act as Philosophy Michael Boylan

For more information about this series, please visit: www.routledge.com/ Routledge-Research-in-Aesthetics/book-series/RRA

Fictive Narrative Philosophy How Fiction Can Act as Philosophy

Michael Boylan

First published 2019 by Routledge 52 Vanderbilt Avenue, New York, NY 10017 and by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business © 2019 Taylor & Francis The right of Michael Boylan to be identified as author of this work has been asserted by him in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. Trademark notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data A catalog record for this book has been requested ISBN: 978-1-138-36733-3 (hbk) ISBN: 978-0-429-42984-2 (ebk) Typeset in Sabon by Apex CoVantage, LLC

Contents

Preface

vii

PART 1

The Structure of the Traditional Paradigm 1 2

Narrative Fiction as Philosophically Interpreted in the Ancient Western World Fiction as Philosophically Interpreted in the Modern and Contemporary Western World

1

3 22

PART 2

The Structure of the New Paradigm

45

3

What Makes an Artifact Philosophy?

47

4

Literature as Philosophy

67

5

The Special Logic of Fictive Narrative Philosophy

92

6

Constructional Devices

116

7

How Do We Judge Fictive Narrative Philosophy?

174

8

When Should We Use Fictive Narrative Philosophy and When Direct Discourse Philosophy?

199

vi

Contents

9

How Might Fictive Narrative Philosophy Change the Academy? Appendix 1: First-Order Metaethical Principles: Boylan’s Philosophical Work on Ethics and Personhood Theory as a First Step for Ethics and Fictive Narrative Philosophy Appendix 2: My Own Work in Fictive Narrative Philosophy Bibliography Index

215

219 236 239 251

Preface

This book has been a long time developing. It is an interdisciplinary project between literature study and doing philosophy. In literature I have been a practitioner as well as a critic. My first novel, Far Into the Sound was published in 1973, reviewed in The New York Times, and won me a sizeable grant. I have written plays that have been produced, poetry that has included a reading at the Library of Congress, and short stories (one of which was adapted as a one-act play that was staged in Sydney, Australia). I began my academic study of literature in a Ph.D. program at The University of Chicago with an emphasis upon Anglo-Saxon and seventeenth-century British poetry. I took an M.A. and began teaching literature even as I made the tradition to classical Greek and Roman philosophy (my Ph.D. was in the history and philosophy of ancient science). When I moved to the East Coast (originally as a visiting professor at Georgetown), I became a newspaper critic of experimental novels for the Baltimore Sun (six years). About this time I began writing articles and then a series of books on ethics and social/political philosophy. For most of my early period in philosophy I played down my literary side. Sometimes when I published, I used one of my pen names: Angus Black. I had been given this advice from most of my teachers at The University of Chicago. They told me that philosophers did not take kindly to artists—especially on the literary side. Analytic philosophy thought of narrative fiction in the metaphor of a meal. “Philosophy (and other social sciences) is like a meat and potato dinner. Stories are kind of like dessert—sweet, but bad for your health.” Others went even further in the analogy: “Stories are not even dessert, they are the whipped cream on top of the piece of cake— even more marginalized.” (I wrote about these tensions in my article, “Novel Forms of Thought” The London Times (January 27, 2011). When I began teaching philosophy and literature, I used the strategy of literary theory that literature departments in the Western Tradition were employing. Some of this included writings I had studied at Chicago in the literature department and then with Paul Ricoeur and Ted Cohen. I also tried to integrate the French literary theorists and the various schools of contemporary literary theory, including cultural studies, deconstruction

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Preface

and post-structuralism, feminist theory, formalism, queer theory, Marxism, new historicism, phenomenology and hermeneutics, post-colonial theory, psychoanalysis, critical race theory, reader response theory, and structuralism and semiotics. I found important insights in each of these approaches, but I thought I was still back in the literature department and not doing philosophy. I struggled quite a while with this cognitive dissonance when I was asked to give The Larkin Lecture at Mount St. Mary’s College, Los Angeles, “What Narrative Can Tell Us” (2008). This developed into a lecture I gave the next year at University College, Dublin and Trinity College, Dublin (2009) that included thought experiments and cases in the presentation. Then, in the later part of 2009, I received a short story from my 30-year friend, the novelist and philosopher, Charles Johnson. I have read much of Charles’s work, and his story, “The Cynic” (about Plato and Diogenes), made me think that my philosophical soulmate and I could put together an introduction to philosophy using the framework of the history of philosophy and key short stories (that he and I created) to guide people new to the field through the guise of fictive narrative philosophy.1 My earlier lecture was revised once again in 2014 in a presentation to the University of Valparaiso, Chile.2 By this time I was sure that I was onto something that would be a unique approach which would be different from the way philosophy and literature are generally grouped. Hence, the origin of this book. The book has two parts. In the first part, the traditional paradigm of linking philosophy and literature is presented from both the classical world perspective and that of contemporary writers (the past couple centuries). In the second part, I set out my theory on how a new perspective can come about. This requires creating a special logic and a particular understanding of constructional devices and how these affect whether a fictive narrative may qualify as philosophy or not and if it does, how it might be evaluated. In the end, I believe that this approach may prove fruitful for philosophical research and how philosophy is taught at universities throughout the world.

Notes 1. Michael Boylan and Charles Johnson, Philosophy: An Innovative Introduction— Fictive Narrative, Primary Texts, and Responsive Writing (Boulder, CO: Westview, 2010, now available via Routledge). 2. Michael Boylan, “What Fictive Narrative Philosophy Can Tell Us: Stories, Cases, Thought Experiments” Revista de Humanidades de Valparaiso 2.1 (2014): 61–82.

Part 1

The Structure of the Traditional Paradigm

1

Narrative Fiction as Philosophically Interpreted in the Ancient Western World

The Fields of Philosophy The traditional paradigm views the roles of philosophy and literature as one of the “of” relations. There are four traditional core components of philosophy: Logic, Ethics, Metaphysics, and Epistemology. But then philosophy also likes to act as a clarifying agent to any discipline exploring the coherence and consistency of the foundational principles and how they are applied (whether theory matches practice). Thus, we have philosophy of science, for example. This is an area in which I have endeavored within the historical context of ancient Greek philosophy of biology/medicine.1 In this context the philosopher looks at the body of science and examines the methods used and the inductive and deductive inferences that can be drawn from them. The body of research and the conclusions drawn becomes the explanandum while philosophy provides the complete explanans. There is some meaning that is gleaned by the biomedical practitioners, but it is incomplete. To get the full picture we must bring in the philosophers to complete the account. In the process philosophers often find conceptual difficulties that have to be overcome in order to make the process coherent. For example, in contemporary philosophy of science some philosophers found problems in conformation theory. This is central for an effective hypothesisexperimental approach. One of these paradoxes on confirmation theory was the raven paradox in which by using logical counterpositions one could confirm hypotheses with input that was not logically connected to the theory, e.g., that all ravens are black by reference to the Washington Monument (which is white).2 Philosophers enter the fray in philosophy of law, philosophy of social science, philosophy of sport, etc. All of them attempt the same project. The subject matter to be examined is taken as the display and philosophy points out how it works and doesn’t work. Philosophy is thus an overlay to the discipline itself. In the traditional paradigm this is exactly what is happening with philosophy of literature. Philosophy takes literature as the display and

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The Structure of the Traditional Paradigm

examines it to see what it can and cannot do. This is a valuable project and this book does not seek to denigrate it. However, in Part 2 of this book, another approach is suggested that can stand alongside the traditional approach: literature as philosophy, itself.

Plato: Art as the Imitation of Truth (aka Ersatz Truth) Plato is a rather slippery character. This is because he makes several contradictory comments upon what art is and what it can do. To begin our short presentation, it is crucial to understand that there are at least two senses of art. The first refers to a rather large category of human activity that is ruled by a set of functional criterion (ergon). When one masters these functionally defined outcomes, then one is excellent (arete) in the activity that may be called an art or techne. This understanding of art might include medicine, shoe-making, and athletic training. For the most part, this understanding of art will be consigned to a general background condition. What is more to the point is created (poein), imitative art (mimesis). This is the sort of art that the sculptors, painters, poets, and dramatists use. The artist imitates life/reality and presents it to the city. The problem is that Plato believes that most artists get it wrong. This goes back to his epistemological assumptions discussed in Chapter 5 (“the Cave” and “the Divided Line”). Plato conceived of the Divided Line3 as representing both the process of knowing and the objects of knowledge that are possible among people. The line has one large division between the objects that are visible (lower half) and the objects that are invisible (upper half). Each general half is also divided in two. With this in mind, the top quartile objects are the Forms (eide). The epistemological power used to apprehend them is pure intellection (immediate graspings, noesis). The second quartile objects are mathematical objects (ta mathematica) and discursive philosophical argument (logismos). The epistemological power used to apprehend them is mediated thought (dianoia). Now we move to the second half of the divided line. In the third overall quartile we have empirical objects in the world (pragmatos). The epistemological power used to apprehend them is sense perception that is critical to a point (pistis). Scientists and physicians reside on this level. Finally, in the lowest quartile are mere images (eikones) or uncritical sense perception. The epistemological power that is used to apprehend them is the imagination (eikasia).4 If an artist is a regular fellow, then he exists at the lowest level on the divided line and would be a cave dweller who assesses the shadows of the puppets as being true. This means that the reality presented to the artist is false. It is ersatz truth. The artist does not see the real truth. If it is assumed that there is a slippage in all imitations such that even the best imitation doesn’t ever completely match up to the original, then the artist

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is attempting to present what he sees as true (but which really is false) and in that transmission the end product will be even more false. In this way, the artist becomes a re-enforcer of the status quo (ersatz truth). For example, many people see television and the internet in this way. Popular television and the internet take popular culture as the norm. They seek to imitate the popular culture to make it pleasing and plausible to the many. In this way, the status quo is reinforced. But what if (à la Ibsen)5 we assume that the status quo (as supported by the many) is always wrong. This position (which I believe Plato supports) suggests that on epistemological grounds the popular culture is based upon falsity (judged by the internalist correspondence theory of truth as interpreted via the Cave and the Divided Line). Thus, those artists who begin here will be corruptors of the state. This is because they will make falsity (the ersatz truth) seem to be attractive. In the Republic Plato suggests that these artists be discouraged in favor of the didactic artists (who use the pleasurable adornments of presentation to bring forth a truthful message).6 This depiction of the artist is of an individual who sees objects at a low metaphysical level only and imitates what she sees to others. Because what she sees is a distortion of a distortion, she presents a false vision of reality (389e). This version of the artist is as a liar who corrupts her audience. This conclusion leads Plato toward a position of censuring such art in favor of properly didactic art (401 c-d). This possibility of a truthful message is the other side of Plato. From this standpoint, he thinks that art can move many toward the truth. It might be like the fugitive from the cave who returns and presents a work that might free his comrades from their chains. In this way, the artist might actually do some good. However, Plato is rather distrustful of the ability of artists, unaided, to do this. In the Ion, Plato thinks that the artists can present a vision of the beautiful (and a fortiori of the true) if it is divinely inspired: Argument 1.1: Divine Inspiration in Plato’s Ion 1. [Art (techne) requires knowledge to operate]—F[act] (from earlier argument) 2. To have a techne of poetry is to judge all poetry—A[ssertion] 532c 7 3. [Ion can only judge Homer]—F 4. Ion’s ability to speak about Homer comes not from art (techne) and knowledge (episteme)—1–3 5. Poetry as a whole is a techne—F, 532 c8 6. All technai operate in the same way—A, 532d1 7. All technai must be understood as wholes—5, 6, 532 d3 8. [Poetry as a techne must be understood as a critical whole]—5–7 9. Other arts, such as painting, are also critically understood as wholes— A, 532d

6

The Structure of the Traditional Paradigm

10. [There are two aspects of art: criticism (relying upon techne) and production (relying upon divine inspiration)]—A 11. Poets (and other artists) are divinely inspired; critics, by techne, understand what they do—4, 8, 9–11, 533e–534e 12. [Poets are imitators of nature]—A 13. Rhapsodists interpret poets—A, 535a 14. Rhapsodists are interpreters of interpreters—12, 13, 535a 9 15. Divinely inspired artists are not in their senses [adikountos—untrained= ~ techne] and as such can only mysteriously string couplets together (much as the loadstone is a mysterious coupler)—A, 535d 5, 533e 16. The loadstone is the Muse and the artist, the work, and the audience, are all like the iron rings that are caught together—A, 536 a-d 17. [Rhapsodists, and other artists, create what they do not by techne, but by divine inspiration which is a mysterious force that comes from the Muse and not from the artist]—11, 14–16 18. Each Separate techne (art) has its own separate ergon (a functionally defined work)—A, 537a-c 19. We know x by its functional definition, each with its own nature—A, 537d 1–4 20. We know each art, techne, separately on its own terms—18, 19 21. [Homer and the rhapsodists are not charioteers]—F 22. Between Ion, the rhapsodists, and Homer (the poet), the charioteer only has the techne of the charioteer—18–21/ 538b (the same is true of other arts, such as fishing 538d–539d, and medicine 539d) 23. [Only the one who has the techne has knowledge of the techne]—A 24. [The poet or the imitators of the imitators speak about what they personally do not know]—20–24 25. Any truth an artist might exhibit is by Divine Inspiration (the Muses) and not from any actual knowledge he, himself, possesses—17, 24 In Argument 1.1 Plato finesses the problem of whether the artist, as such, is capable of (a) seeing and assessing what is true, and (b) representing that truth to others indirectly in the artistic mode. The trick is that the artist may not be able (unaided) to see and assess the truth. It is given to him. Thus, the invocation of the opening line of Homer’s Odyssey: “Sing to me, oh Muse, of the many twisting ways of man” (my tr.). When the beginning of the process is not the unaided observer looking at the world, assessing it, creating a worldview, and then transmitting that worldview to others, but is instead the divine inspiration of God (aka the Muse), then the whole process changes. If God is in charge, then the artist is merely the conduit of a message. That message is (by definition) true. The artist is merely the conduit of God’s truth to the many (in Greek the hoi polloi). In a real sense the artist under this model ceases to be important. He is

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merely the messenger. Plato and the twentieth-century French philosopher Michel Foucault hold the sort of position of the artist being less important than the artifact.7 The artist is submerged to the appreciation of the work. For example, consider the cathedral of Chârtres in France. The architect is unknown. But is that important? Doesn’t the message of the cathedral speak for itself? But what is the source of the message? If one adopts the correspondence theory of truth, then the source is truth itself (also known by theists as God). The artist is the conduit between reality and an audience. The most modern example of this is the newspaper. How many of us actually read the byline of the newspaper? Most of us are more interested in the content. What does the article say? Or, as Will Rogers used to say, all he knew was what he read in the newspapers. The content is key. Who wrote it is irrelevant. The author is only the messenger. This is the intermediate position. It mediates between the artist as the propagator of ersatz truth and the artist as the visionary. It is unclear whether Plato ever held this latter position, but the closest thing to it is in his dialogue, Symposium. Argument 1.2: Beauty as Seen Through Love 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22.

Love must have an object; be a lover of something—F, 199d Love is a desire for something—F, 200a [One does not desire what one has]—F Love desires an object which it lacks—1, 2, 3, 200b-e Love is the love of beauty—A, 201a The form of Love lacks beauty—4, 5, 201b [note self-referential paradox] The good is beauty—F, 201c Love lacks the good—6, 7, 201c Love is neither beautiful nor good—6–8 DIOTOMA INTERLUDE 202a–212c Kalon/aischron; agathon/ kakon are polar opposites—A Love is at neither extreme—A Love is between the two—10, 11, 202b All the gods are happy and beautiful—F Love is not a god—9, 13, 202d [Love is greater than man]—A Love is between god and man—12, 14, 15 Love is the offspring of resource and need—A, 203b–204b [Wisdom is the means to the beautiful and good]—A Love is a philo-sophia—9, 16–18, 204b A lover of good seeks eudaimonia—A, 204e All men desire the agathos—F, 205a Love includes all longing and desire for agathos and eudaimonia— 20–21

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23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39. 40.

Only the agathos and eudaimonia are most highly prized—A [Love seeks only that which is most highly prized]—A Love only seeks agathos and eudaimonia—22–24 Eternal goods are more highly prized than temporary ones—F Love seeks eternal goods—24, 26, 206b Nature urges us to procreation—A, 206c Conception occurs in a male/female union—F Within human procreation is a divine element—A [All things that nature urges happen to all]—F All people procreate (or desire to do so)—28–29, 31 All people procreate (or desire to do so) in the divine element—30, 32 Divine conception is a harmony—A Beauty confers harmony; ugliness confers discord—A Divine conception is concerned with beauty—34, 35 All people procreate (or desire to do so) via beauty—33, 36, 206e To procreate is to bring forth some effect—F All people bring forth (or desire to do so) a beautiful effect—37, 38 Propagation is a longing for immortality—A [cf. long discourse on animal reproduction 207b–208a] [All people in love seek immortality in bringing forth beautiful effects]—27, 39, 40 [Propagation of the spirit is higher than the body]—A, 209a Wisdom is the governor of the spirit—A [Begetting the effects of wisdom is the highest form of propagation]—42, 43 The propagation of wisdom is a divine conception—A The propagation of wisdom is the highest and is concerned with beauty—19, 36, 41, 44, 45 Pure beauty is revealed on a scale of perfection that has immortal and beautiful objects—A, 210a–211d

41. 42. 43. 44. 45. 46. 47.

a. b. c. d. e. f. g. h.

Beautiful body, a7 Beauty of form, b2 Beauty of soul, b8 Beauty of natural law/activity, c4 Beauty of nature, exact science (episteme), c6 Philosophy, d6 Beauty, d7 Everlasting and eternal loveliness

48. The highest perfection confers arête, eudaimonia, and agathos—F 49. All men seek this scale—21, 25, 46–48 50. Love reveals pure beauty on such a scale of perfection that all men seek it, i.e., “Love’s activity is to reveal pure beauty on such a scale of perfection that all men seek it”—42, 47, 49, 211d–212b

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In Argument 1.2 Plato makes a case for the role of Beauty in revealing Truth. This is an important argument in the triad of the good, the true, and the beautiful. It asserts that humans see in beauty an emblem of perfection. If Greek moral thought saw perfection as the achieving of an end via the excellent (arete) satisfaction of an art (techne), and if this achievement confers goodness (agathos—the possession of which makes life worthwhile, eudaimonia), then beauty is part in this process and makes it a critical component in being human. Beauty is no mere recreation, but a real way to actualize our human nature. Argument 1.2 begins by giving some closure to the main theme of the dialogue: an exploration of the nature and activity of love (premises 1–25). Love is connected with desire for the good (agathos) and with the contented, balanced soul (eudaimonia). In this way Plato is identifying love with the attainment of the good (in abstract and for the agent personally). The response to such a quest is to propagate (here understood as artistic production—after the Hippocratic aphorism, “Life is short; Art is long”). 8 If Plato is correct here that the natural human inclination to love is really about the search for the good and the balanced soul, which, in turn, prompts propagation (in the case of interpersonal relations—children, and in the case of people who are lovers of wisdom—artistic production), then the rest of the argument also follows. In premises #34 and 35, one characteristic of Beauty is identified: harmony (that is connected to the Divine, aka to Truth). This leads us back to artistic production again (propagation) in #37–40. Beauty (now connected intimately with Art) then connects to wisdom, #43–46 (Truth). In #47 this is situated in both the physical object (artifact) and the beautiful (form). Finally, in premise #48 there is a return to the Good. This is a complicated argument that has spawned entire books. However, for our purposes here, the point is to emphasize that Plato does confer a rather higher place to art and beauty than was evidenced in the earlier arguments we have discussed. Here, art and the artist are exalted and earlier they were denigrated as corruptors. One way to make sense of this apparent contradiction is that (following in the direction of the Ion) what makes all the difference is the nature of what is being imitated. When the subject of imitation is the ersatz truth of the lower levels of the divided line or the shadows of puppets on the cave wall, then the artist leads the hoi polloi astray. But when the object is the form of the beautiful, then the result is enlightenment (the acquisition of truth) and the good (both formally and in one’s own life through a contented and balanced soul). This sort of artist might include the work of Plato, himself. He wrote dramatic dialogues that purported (one may assume on the basis of his Seventh Letter) to stimulate indirectly his readers to think about the Good and the True via a Beautiful presentation.

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When art is understood as imitation in this way, then the answer to the question “what is good art” as opposed to “what is bad art” lies in ferreting out the object that the artist was imitating. When ersatz truth is in the artist’s eyes, then he is a purveyor of corruption and is not a positive member of society. When real truth (as defined by internalist-based correspondence theory) is in the artist’s eyes, then the result is the betterment of society and the instrument of individual salvation.

Aristotle: Art as Philosophy for Everyone Aristotle’s principal work on art is The Poetics. In his systemic fashion Aristotle connects the activity of art with philosophy. Argument 1.3: Why We Like Art 1. All men by nature desire to know—F, chapter 4 (cf. Metaphysics I.1)/ 1448b12 2. [When we imitate nature we learn about nature]—F 3. Imitation of nature is inherently interesting to man—1, 2 / b16 4. Learning by imitation excites the audience to actively engage in the process of learning—A/b13 5. [Dynamic learning is stimulated by poetic imitation]—A 6. Poetic imitation is inherently interesting to man—3–5 Premise #1 sets out Aristotle’s understanding of the most basic fact of human nature: the desire to know. It is the first sentence of his prominent collection: the Metaphysics. If we grant Aristotle his famous definition of what it means to be human,9 then what follows from this? In the enthymeme premise #2 there is a conjecture that imitation of nature prompts learning about nature. Why might this be? One account might be that the imitation stimulates further inquiry. This is different from Plato’s general supposition that the hoi polloi would stop at the imitation as presented and accept that as reality, itself. When the poet was imitating ersatz reality, the result would be the corrupting of the individual. For Plato, the artifact would be the final stop. The audience would see it as a stand-in for truth. When that stand-in was based on falsity, then evil resulted. Aristotle saw things differently. His idea of the hoi polloi was that they were rather more interactive with the presented artifact. When the artist presents an artifact to the populace, Aristotle did not believe the process stopped there. He thought that there was stimulation to inquiry. Instead of being the end of the process, the work of art was the beginning of an investigation.

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Aristotle concentrates in his work on epic poetry and dramatic tragedy.10 Some of the devices of the process include: Chapter 11: Reversal and Recognition. Reversal (peripeteia) comes about when the action veers to the opposite direction. For example, in “Oedipus Rex” the servant intends to cheer Oedipus by telling him of his origins, but the servant’s words have just the opposite effects (leading to Oedipus’s downfall). Recognition (anagnopisis) implies a change from ignorance to knowledge. The best sort of recognition or discovery is one that is linked to a reversal. This is the case when Oedipus finds out his origins and how he ended up killing his father and marrying his mother. A third element is an emotional calamity (pathos) that entails suffering and perhaps death. The last stage of Oedipus’s journey starts with his self-inflicted blinding and results in his own walk-about through two other plays, “Oedipus at Colonus,” and “Antigone.” This selfimposed punishment creates a cleansing of the soul of Oedipus and an emotional cleansing on the part of the audience (katharsis). This is quite important because Aristotle (the man who put forth the definition of humanity as being rational animals) here includes affective criteria via the emotional cleansing of the audience in the drama. What should we understand about the status of such cleansing? On the one hand, it could be merely a pleasurable boon. One feels better after the play. On the other hand, it could be that we are emotionally improved through the process. Thus, art/beauty can connect to our emotions that, in turn, relate to the good and the beautiful. Argument 1.4: Pity and Fear in Tragedy 1. A good plot is one that is complex and works by creating a whole that arouses pity and fear—F, chapter 13 (earlier argument) / 1452b25 2. [Pity and fear are aroused only through actions based partially upon desert]—A 3. Option—A: Portraying a good man who moves from fortune to misfortune through no fault of his own arouses aversion in the audience, not pity and fear—2 /b30 4. [Aversion is unlike pity and fear and works against good art]—A 5. Option—A is not a good plot structure—1–4 6. Option—B: Portraying a bad man who moves from misfortune to fortune by happenstance does not evoke pity and fear nor is it sympathetic for the audience—2 / 1453a 7. [Sympathy from the audience is a secondary factor by which to judge a plot]—A

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8. Option—B is not a good plot structure—1, 6, 7 9. Option—C: Portraying a bad man who moves from fortune to misfortune is to show a person getting what he fully deserves, i.e., punishment—F / 1453a5 10. Though there is sympathy in #9, there is no pity nor fear—2, 9 11. Option—C is not a good plot structure—1, 9, 10 12. Option—D: Portraying a moderately good man who moves from fortune to misfortune partially due to his weaknesses or character flaw (deserts) evokes pity and fear—2 / a10 13. Option—D is the best plot structure—1, 5, 8, 11, 12 In Argument 1.4 Aristotle sets his cards on the table in the enthymeme, #2, that desert must play a part in the proper arousal of pity and fear.11 “Desert” is obviously a moral term referring to the good. For example, in the case of Oedipus in the first play: Did he deserve his fate? Well, let’s think about it. Here is a person who, through no fault of his own, was raised as an orphan in another city without knowledge of the oracle’s declarations about his fate. But he is responsible for the character he has created for himself according to the Personal Worldview Imperative.12 Thus, Oedipus meets a man on the road who will not yield. Sounds a bit like a male testosterone ritual, eh? Oedipus rises (or degrades himself). He fights and kills the other haughty male (unbeknownst to him, his father). So what? Has Oedipus killed his father? Clearly he has killed someone. Under the state-of-nature rules of the age, he has not been overly egregious. He is guilty of justifiable homicide. But is he guilty of the far greater crime of patricide? Therein lies the tale. The various options are trotted out and rejected. This is because art needs something different from philosophy: it needs some essential emotional tension. This can only come with the introduction of nuance. When a basically good man with a flaw goes down, there is nuance. On the one hand, the protagonist is basically good; on the other hand, he is flawed (harmartia)13—just as most of us see ourselves. We are flawed, but for the most part, we feel we are good (or at least striving to become such). Thus, when the protagonist falls, we sympathetically connect with him or her. It could be us. Our pity is evoked through our sympathetic interaction with the protagonist. Because the protagonist is like us (in being basically good), we feel a connection. This connection (which I call “sympathy”) creates pity for the fate of the protagonist. Part of this feeling is for the protagonist and part is our own projection of self-pity—should we identify strongly with the protagonist. Our fear is a consequence of our pity. Once we have invested ourselves in the main character, then we become anxious as the mechanical downfall takes place. We know what will happen. We know why it will

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happen. But because we feel sympathetic connection with the protagonist, we indulge in quixotic hope that something will save him. This tension is the anxious fear that Aristotle is talking about. At the end of the day, the process concludes in an emotional release on the part of the audience, katharsis. Thus, though the purpose of art is to satisfy our rational natures (Argument 1.3), its operation is to employ plot, music, and spectacle14 to emotionally connect with the audience in order to heighten the experience in such a way that they will remember the drama and speculate upon its meaning. In this way, art stimulates rational reflection for many more effectively than philosophy because of this broader appeal. The successful artist under this scenario is not only a philosopher on the model of the “sting ray” Socrates (who shocked others into thinking), but is also an artisan who is skilled at delivering mimetic pleasure driven by a realistic plot. Under this assessment, the drama is only the beginning. The subsequent discussions and controversy constitute the philosophy that many audience members will undergo in a search for meaning. The audience wants to know what the author’s vision (aka worldview) suggests and whether they agree. It is an alluring conscription. Are you drawn into the artist’s worldview? How do you like it once you are there? The answers to these questions entail considerations of the True and the Good as one assesses the Beautiful.

Horace: The Balance Between Pleasure and Truth Horace is one of those “philosopher of” critics who is often cited but notso-often discussed in any detail. This is perhaps because of the convenient tag line. In this case we have an artist who is also philosophizing about what makes a good poem (aka drama, etc.). We can generalize to set out that fiction—whether it is a poem, play, or in the modern contexts a novel, movie, or internet snippet—must satisfy the following criteria. Horace is often quoted in a phrase without further comment. So that this presentation does not repeat this foible, let us consider the central argument as it is textually presented: Argument 1.5: The Interaction Between Pleasure and Instruction15 1. When fauns trout out from the wood they ought not act as if they were from the gutter—A/ l. 245 2. Scenes from the gutter will offend the audience—especially the upper crust—A/ ll. 247–248 3. [Audience reaction is what the artist should put at the highest level]—A 4. Order and inner coherence are important to success—1–3/ l. 243

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The Structure of the Traditional Paradigm

5. Poets should delight and amuse—A/ ll. 333–334 6. [When you instruct be brief so that the audience’s mind can absorb it [as is necessary for instruction]—F/ ll. 335–336 7. Fictions that are close to truth generate pleasure—F/ l. 338 8. The elders will give the hook to what is merely pleasurable—F/ l. 341 9. The young will forego what is merely instructive—F/ l. 342 10. All will applaud that which combines the sweet and the usefully instructive—5–9/ l. 343 11. [An orderly, inoffensive presentation that pleases and instructs will satisfy audiences the most]—4, 10 Premise #1 is a comment on the Satyr drama genre of the day. Often this was portrayed with naked actors and bawdy actions. Horace says that decorum should rule the day and that drunken audiences ought not be catered to. Instead, he picks an upper crust to fulfill his penchant for audience-based criticism. But why does he do this? It is because, though he wants to give pleasure its due, not all pleasure will do. John Stuart Mill makes a similar move in his Argument in On Utilitarianism where he asserts that those individuals who have experience with both “high” and “low” pleasure habitually will choose the high over the low.16 It is clear that in both cases the philosopher (Horace and Mill) simply asserts that this is the case. But it would only be the case if there were another independent principle that could be applied to conclude this. Otherwise, it is an unsupportable posit whose only justification is that the author says it’s so. Another sense of decorum is order and coherence. These are criteria for poetry and drama. These two conditions harken back to Aristotle’s pre-constructional devices. A character in Act One who declares x is her belief cannot (without intervening reason) declare in Act Two ~x. It would be inconsistent to do so. Likewise, the way the plot proceeds must be in an orderly fashion based upon reasonable causation. Premises #5–10 move back to audience criticism and suggest that audiences can be split by age: young people prefer fictions that deliver pleasure while the mature prefer practical instruction. As already mentioned, such a posit longs for more than an intuitive concurrence. What structural features about these two sorts of audiences would cause that to be the case? One might as plausibly contend that the young would like instruction (because they are in a learning part of life) and that the mature would seek for pleasure (since age diminishes many opportunities for pleasure). At any rate, what we can bring away from Argument 1.5 is that Horace believed that art should be judged by audience reaction concerning pleasure (decorously presented) and instruction or practical advice (that follows the logical rules of order and coherence).

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Longinus: Genius First; Method Second Traditionally, Longinus has been given credit for “On the Sublime.”17 In this work, we transition from a technically based account of art as (a) imitation from either a true or a false point of view; (b) imitation that is meant to stimulate philosophy for the masses to (c) a recognition that the work of art can, via the genius of the artist, rival any other as an account of the good and the beautiful. It’s not just a “second best” version but can stand on its own account as a depiction in its own right. The foundation of this point of view is that artists are geniuses. They have a special connection to what is (correspondence theory of truth). Unlike other geniuses, they do not recount the truth directly, but use their art and its method to depict their vision. This argument comes about as follows: Argument 1.6: Longinus on Genius 1. Antithesis: Genius (megalophue, and its affects, grandeur) is given by nature (phusis)—A, / 2.2 2. [“By Nature” and “By Education” are opposed]—A 3. Genius is not taught—1, 2 4. [Dissection by functional criteria (ergei) is only appropriate for things that are taught]—A 5. Genius is spoiled by subjecting it to rules and examination—3, 4 6. Thesis: In works that elicit affective responses, pathetikos, for the most part, nature is not governed by exterior law but by internal law (autonomon)—A 7. [What is autonomon must be subject to method, methodos]—A 8. Nature is governed by a method—6, 7 9. In all creation nature is the arche (exemplar of all)—A 10. [Grandeur without method is apt not to realize itself]—A 11. [That which doesn’t realize itself is purposeless and adrift]—A 12. Genius and grandeur need method—8–11 13. [Method curbs; genius spurs one forward]—A 14. Creation requires method along with genius—12, 13 15. Demosthenes said (Orations 23.113) that good fortune is the greatest blessing while good counsel is second—F 16. [Demosthenes is to be trusted]—A 17. When “nature” is substituted for “good fortune,” and “artistic method” for “good counsel,” then we may say, “Genius is the greatest blessing while artistic method is next”—15 18. [The substitution in #17 is proper]—A 19. Genius is most important, though artistic method is a close second—14, 16–18 20. The thesis is to be adopted and the antithesis rejected—5, 19

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Longinus does not believe in unbridled artistic expression because this will not lead to actualization of the artist’s vision (premises #10 and 11). Instead, the artist needs formal limitations through which his or her genius might be expressed. This is a point about communication. If the artist sees x and judges that x is true, then how is the artist to communicate this to others? Remember, in the Cave, Plato posited that some of those who free themselves from the cave and see truth have a desire to share it with others and return to the cave. Perhaps some do this directly in theoretical non-fiction such as philosophy, economics, or mathematics (modern examples). Others choose ways to segue to the realm of action through science, business, and law. But there is a third path and that is art. Art is both theoretical and practical. It seeks to bring in everyone under its aegis. This successful output is the sublime. In Chapter 8, Longinus contends that the sublime is composed of: great thoughts, strong and inspired emotion, certain figures of thought and speech, noble diction, and dignified and elevated word arrangement. These constitute the principle vehicles of artistic expression in poetry. But this leads to another problem in judging art: How heavily does one weigh expertise in the methods of art vs. the power of the artist’s vision of what is true? Longinus gives his response in Argument 1.7: Argument 1.7: Genius vs. Mediocrity 1. Man was brought into the universe by nature to be a spectator and a contestant in a great festival that is full of grandeur (life itself)—A/ 35.2 2. A pure and exact writer is one who sticks narrowly to a narrow path without making many mistakes—A/ 33.1 & 2 3. [A genius is one who most fully is a participant in nature’s design; a mediocre writer markedly less so]—A 4. [Being narrow in design does not evoke grandeur]—A 5. A pure and exact writer does not evoke grandeur—2, 4 6. [A pure and exact writer is mediocre]—3, 5 7. The process of being grand in design (i.e., evoking grandeur) necessarily involves one in making mistakes—A/ 33.3 8. [Only the ambitious authors aspiring to grand designs (even though they make mistakes) can lay claim to genius]—1, 3, 4, 5 This is a significant argument. It states that the scope of artistic vision is what is crucial in evaluating what is more beautiful. Technical expertise in meter, tropes, etc., is expected at some professional level, but it is the artistic visionary reach that defines our final assessment. It is analogous to the diving competition in the Olympics. Competitors declare that they will perform a certain sort of dive that is given a difficulty factor. Then the

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dive, itself, is judged at how well it is performed. Under this rubric, one competitor who tries a 9.0-level difficulty (on a scale of 10) and succeeds at 5.0 has a total score of 45 (9 × 5 = 45), while another competitor who attempts a 3.0-level dive and succeeds beautifully at 10.0 only scores (3 × 10 = 30). The first competitor who attempted more is rewarded even if the execution was somewhat flawed. In principle, many would adopt such a theory of criticism. However, what does it mean in actual cases to assess the artistic aspiration? What would count as a measuring device? Authors who see themselves within this context aspire to more than authors who see the beautiful as separate and distinct. (Horace supports this point saying that “Wisdom is the start of good writing so that an artist should be grounded in a good worldview”; “poetry aspires to advance the good or to give pleasure or [better yet] to give both”).18 However, one must be careful in the paradigm of the author of narrative literature as a genius. This is because it suggests that everything is completely under the author’s conscious control. He or she patterns everything. Every word on the page, every simile or metaphor is under sole control of the genius. I do not accept this account. A simple model (Table 1.1) can illustrate why. For the totally controlled-genius artist who can see all and every way his or her work might be viewed by the public, it would be necessary to view all the possible relations and to modify or change those that he/she didn’t like. In the simple case set out in Table 1.1 there are 30 α depictions and 30 β depictions. Even if these were the only salient characteristics found in the work of narrative fiction, they can be arranged in 260 instances. I would suggest that such complexity is beyond the ken of even the most thorough craftsman. We have to give up the notion that the artist-as-genius model allows the originator to see every possibility that might be made of his work. A rather more modest goal is one in which the creator sees many ways that parts of the fictive presentation might work together and sets them out in broad patterns. Perhaps this is the same problem with which those working in particle physics contend: that the exact mathematics necessary to describe Brownian Motion is impossible, and yet very general patterns can be topographically set out.19

Table 1.1 A Simple Combination of Possible Relations Between α and β Characteristic α is found on pages: 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 17, 19, 21, 23, 25, 29, 31, 101, 103, 107, 109, 111, 113, 115, 117, 119, 121, 123, 125, 127, 129, 131 Characteristic β is found on pages: 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24, 26, 28, 30, 100, 102, 104, 106, 108, 110, 112, 114, 116, 118, 120, 122, 124, 126, 128

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The Structure of the Traditional Paradigm

We may still hold a genius theory of criticism as does Longinus, but the notion of how much the author of fictive narrative is in control of what is seen must be understood within the limitations of Table 1.1. The ancient philosophers Plato, Aristotle, Longinus, and Horace all believed that art balances pleasure and instruction. Instruction is either about the good or the true. Thus, among two competing artifacts, p and q, if they are both equally pleasurable, the one that delivered more of a vision of the Good or more of the True would be the better work. From the ancient point of view, the way we judge (criticize) the beautiful is from the position of (a) imitation from either a true or a false point of view; (b) imitation that is meant to stimulate philosophy for the masses; or (c) a recognition that the work of art can rival any other as an account of the Good and the Beautiful. Are the ancient authors right? Partially right? Totally wrong? The answer to this question, within the traditional paradigm, would require a book all its own. My purpose here is merely to explore the parameters of the traditional paradigm. However, what is clear is that the fictive artifact is set out before us to gaze at as we strive to understand how we are to understand it. This perspective sets out a method that answers the question by the overlay of a philosophical theory. It is “philosophy of” thinking. What this treatise seeks to explore is whether there is another way, too, that fictive artifacts can express themselves. The way we think about the Beautiful rests upon the outcome.

Notes 1. Michael Boylan, Method and Practice in Aristotle’s Biology (New York, NY: Rowman and Littlefield, UPA, 1983); Michael Boylan, The Origins of Ancient Greek Science: Blood—A Philosophical Study (London: Routledge, 2015). 2. This example comes from Carl Hempel, “A Purely Syntactical Definition of Confirmation” Journal of Symbolic Logic 8 (1943): 122–143, and “Studies in the Logic of Confirmation” reprinted with a postscript in Aspects of Scientific Explanation (New York, NY: The Free Press, 1965). A rich literature developed around this thought experiment that is noted in Clark Glymour, “Relevant Evidence” Journal of Philosophy 72 (1975): 403–426. 3. On the Divided Line, see Republic 509d–511e, cf. the argument at 474c–479e where Plato makes a similar general argument against the doxophilists (those who use opinion as their epistemological source) as opposed to philosophy. The text I use for all Plato citations is John Burnet, ed. Platonis Opera (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1902). The Republic is in volume IV. All Plato translations are my own. 4. The imagination for Plato (and for Aristotle) is a passive faculty in which images are presented to the mind in an order (passive intellect). They can also be altered (active intellect). Though Plato does not develop this in detail, Aristotle does in De Anima 430a 22–24. 5. Henrik Ibsen, An Enemy of the People, tr. James McFarlane (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1983): act V. 6. Republic X, 603b–605c.

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7. Michel Foucault, “The Archaeology of Knowledge” in The Archaeology of Knowledge and the Discourse on Language, tr. A.M. Sheridan Smith (New York, NY: Pantheon, 1972). Note, that I am not trying to make Foucault to be a theist but merely to say that the artist is subsumed by the message. 8. Hippocrates, “Aphorisms” in Hippocrates, selections in four volumes, vol. 4, ed. and tr. W.H.S. Jones (London: Heineman, 1931). 9. Some, including me, would assert that Aristotle’s definition of human nature is too thin. Certainly, we may be the only animal on the planet with rational powers so highly developed. However, there may be more to being human than merely the actualization of these rational powers. For example, say we were to switch the starting point to “desire to be good.” What would follow from this? Well, for one, anything else that would bring about being good— including various affective aspects of who we are—such as philosophical love. For more on this sort of argument, see Michael Boylan, A Just Society (Lanham, MD and Oxford: Rowman and Littlefield, 2004): ch. 2. 10. There are internal references to a work on comedy that (unfortunately) has not survived. For those readers who love to pine about such things, I strongly advise reading philosopher Umberto Eco’s erudite novel, The Name of the Rose (New York, NY: Everyman, 2006 [1994]) in which the lost treatise plays a crucial role in this medieval murder mystery. 11. This, of course, puts emotion somewhere in the realm of reasoned parameters. My position on this is set out in Boylan (2004): ch. two and Boylan (2014): ch. six. To fulfill the completeness condition of my Personal Worldview Imperative, one must adopt both the rational and emotional goodwill. In the latter case, one must be rationally aware of the situation of others (empathy) and then connect emotionally on a level with another (sympathy), which occasions a care response. The entire process I characterize as philosophical love. 12. “All people must develop a single comprehensive and internally coherent worldview that is good and that we strive to act out in our daily lives” Michael Boylan, A Just Society (Lanham, MD and Oxford: Rowman and Littlefield, 2004): 21. 13. For a discussion of this, see Arthur W.H. Adkins, “Aristotle and the Best Kind of Tragedy” The Classical Quarterly, New Series. 16.1 (May, 1966): 78–102, rpt. with commentary in Michael Boylan, ed., Living the Good Life: Virtue and Goodness in the Social and Political Philosophy of Ancient Greece: The Philosophy of A.W.H. Adkins (New Castle: Cambridge Scholars Press, 2019). 14. Chapter 14: Pity and Fear Through Spectacle and Plot. 1. Pity (eleeivov) and Fear (phobon) may be stimulated by: (a) the spectacle of the production or (b) by the arrangement of incidents—A 2. [The amount of sensory stimulation necessary to produce pity and fear is rather gory and monstrous]—A 3. When pity and fear are stimulated by spectacle the play risks being monstrous (sensational)—2 4. Stimulating pity and fear through the arrangement of incidents will appeal to reason—F 5. [Reason is hidden and therefore less likely to be monstrous (sensational)]—A 6. It would be better to stimulate pity and fear by the arrangement of incidents than by spectacle—1, 3, 4, 5 7. The arrangement of incidents may involve: (a) friends, (b) enemies, (c) those neither friend nor enemy—F 8. The discord between enemies is well deserved—F 9. [Pity and fear are aroused only through actions based partially upon desert]—F (earlier argument)

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The Structure of the Traditional Paradigm 10. The discord between enemies will not stimulate pity and fear—8, 9 11. The discord between those who are neither friend nor enemy is without desert—A 12. The discord between those who are neither friend nor enemy will not stimulate pity and fear—8, 11 13. The discord between friends is based partially upon desert—A 14. The discord between friends (or family e.g., Clytemnestra being killed by Orestes) is the only arrangement of incidents that stimulates pity and fear—7, 8, 10, 12, 13 15. The act itself can be performed in knowledge (as when Medea kills her children) or in ignorance (as when Oedipus kills his father and marries his mother)—F 16. The best sort of plot is when the incidents arouse pity and fear through an action that is knowingly or unknowingly performed between friends or loved ones—6, 14, 15

15. Q. Horati Flacci, “Ars Poetica” in Edward Wickham, ed. Opera (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1901). Translations are mine. 16. The argument from John Stuart Mill, On Utilitarianism, rpt. Ed. George Sher (Indianapolis, IN: Hackett, 1979 [1861]): ch. 2: 1. When presented with two pleasures (A & B) where A is a more intense pleasure, it is most often the case that those acquainted with both will choose B over A—A 2. [The only way to account for #1 is by inserting another choice variable (as primary) alongside “intensity” of pleasure]—F 3. Quality of pleasure (as primary) is another choice variable that would account for #1—A 4. Pleasures differ in quality and quantity, with quality trumping quantity—1–3 5. For animals there is only variation in quantity of pleasures—A 6. Animals will not act as per #1–1, 2, 3, 5 7. No human would choose to be an animal—F 8. People are content with a primary variable of pleasure as quality—1, 4, 6, 7 9. [What separates humans from animals is the power of reason]—F 10. The quality variable comes from reason—7–9 11. Those people who are more rational will recognize the quality of pleasure in proportion to their reason—10 12. Those who recognize the primary quality variable do so because they believe they will be happier (more satisfied with their pleasure)—A 13. People will choose between competing pleasures according to both the quality and quantity of the pleasure, with quality trumping quantity relative to the subject’s rational powers—11, 12 17. Longinus was a first-century ACE writer whose work Peri Hupsous is attributed in the extant text (tenth century) to either Dionysius or Longinus. This has put the identity of the author into question. The first attribution suggests that the author is the Augustan Age Dionysius of Halicarnassus. The second attribution goes to Cassius Longinus, the third-century pupil of Plotinus. From the end of the text scholars have assumed that it was no later than ACE 100. This leans toward Dionysius since Longinus lived 200 years later. However, through most of Post-Renaissance history it was Longinus who

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was assumed to be the author. For the purposes of this discussion refer to Longinus, On the Sublime: The Greek Text, edited after the Paris manuscript with introduction, translations, facsims, and appendias, W. Rhys Roberts (New York: AMS, 1979: rpt. of Cambridge University Press, 1935). 18. Horace, Opera, op. cit. ll. 309–310, 329–331. 19. For a more exact account of this, see Peter Mörters and Yuval Peres, Brownian Motion (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010).

2

Fiction as Philosophically Interpreted in the Modern and Contemporary Western World

Modern and Contemporary Theories In philosophy, the modern age begins in the seventeenth century and extends for 200 years. The principal concerns were epistemology and metaphysics centered on the new science as well as political theory centered on tumultuous political changes as wars and theories of class were debated.1 This treatment made no significant changes over the traditional paradigm as set out by the ancients but instead presented its overlay upon art and narrative literature within the context of its primary interests. It is for this reason, that I’ve chosen the transition period between the Modern and Contemporary periods as my beginning point of reference.

MODERN THEORISTS

Kant: Art as Disinterested Judgments From Contemplating the Beautiful Immanuel Kant is a very interesting figure to write on art. He is an individual whose personal taste in art is rather suspect since he thought Frederick the Great to be an inspired poet and his taste in music most appreciated Prussian marching bands.2 However, in Kant’s favor is his fine work on epistemology and metaphysics.3 These are used to ground his ethics and his work on aesthetics. Because Kant is a systematic philosopher, one cannot divorce his work on aesthetics from his other philosophy. Beginning with The Critique of Pure Reason and The Critique of Practical Reason, The Critique of Judgment4 is intricately bound up in the other two works. Because these remarks are meant to be brief overviews brought forward to present the reader with an ensemble of the various historical positions on literature (especially narrative fiction), I only refer to Kant’s other writings when I think it is necessary to comprehend the sense of his presentation.

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There are two major components in Kant’s Third Critique: I. The Critique of Judgment, and II. The Teleology of Nature. These two parts work together as follows: The general point of it all: First, nature would be incomprehensible were we not to impose upon it various rules (First Critique). If we assume that, in fact, these rules were imposed by an exterior force, nature (= God?), then our discovery of the rules (that are actually in nature but do not announce themselves), gives us great pleasure. This means that when something is teleologically created (like nature from a theist’s point of view) or like art from everyone’s point of view, the discovery of the principles of organization is pleasurable. When these principles are harmoniously ordered, we have a sedate kind of pleasure. When they are ordered so that the harmony produces a great effect of the purposiveness of the artifact, then the outcome is the sublime. In this way the sublime is a dynamic force. There is a link between this manner of formal recognition of the beautiful (via sense and reason) and the moral (which, according to Kant, is without self-interest). Thus, if the artifact gives nothing more to the agent besides a pleasure that the agent himself must provide, then the artifact is morally appreciated as well (the Good). The connection between the beautiful and the good is not causal, but the correlation is high (especially when the agent is already good and looking at the beautiful). Kant judgments about Beauty involve several elements: (a) a disinterested, non-rational recognition of an artifact or of nature; (b) a free-form imaginative interplay with the artifact or with nature; and (c) a recognition of purposiveness within the artifact or within nature that stimulates an awareness of the harmony between purpose and the object’s existence. The recognition of this harmony occasions a necessary satisfaction through which the observer makes subjectively based universal judgments about the artifact or about nature. For many readers, this may seem to be a very Byzantine process. This may be true. But it is no more Byzantine than Kant’s account in the First Critique of the way that the understanding is presented with sense data via quality, quantity, relation, and modality.5 In the First Critique, Kant simply wanted to break down the process of how we come to know and the metaphysical consequences of this. The more detailed his empirical account (“The Transcendental Analytic”), the more plausible his speculative conjectures about the limits of knowledge (“The Transcendental Dialectic”). Detailed analysis was Kant’s method. Yes, the process is ponderous. Yes, the sentences are rather convoluted (even in the German). The outcome point is whether Kant extends your ability to make judgments about art.

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To evaluate this, let us consider a key controversial argument that Kant puts forward: Argument 2.1: The Beautiful Is That Which Pleases Universally Without Requiring a Concept 1. The beautiful is the object of an entirely disinterested satisfaction—F (last argument)/ Chapter 6 2. There are no private grounds in a disinterested standpoint—A 3. Whenever there are no private grounds, it is reasonable to assume that all react the same way—A 4. All judgments that are grounded in disinterest are (in a way) universal for all men (das es einen Grund des Wohlgefallens für jedermann enthalten müsse, Chapter 6, ll. 13–14) and this universality does not depend upon the objects but is subjectively universal—1–4 5. Everyone has his own private feeling of pleasure from sense experience—A 6. When one judges the beautiful, his judgment is for everyone—A 7. Sensations of pleasure may induce valid generalizations, but they are not objective nor subjective universals—A 8. Morality sets universal judgments via concepts—F 9. Only aesthetic taste represents the subjective universal—5–8 10. There is a taste of sense (private judgments) and a taste of reflection (judgments generally held to be true)—A [Sinnen Geschmack v Reflexions Geschmack, Chapter 8, l. 11] 11. Reflective taste rests not on concepts of objects (Begriffen von Objecte, l. 10) because it involves no objective quality of judgment (Quantität des Urtheils, l. 11)—A 12. Only reflections that are based upon concepts of objects that represent the quantity of judgment (from the table of judgment, First Critique) are objective—F 13. The representation (Vorstellung) of pleasure is at best generally valid (Gemeingültigseit); the ethical is an objective universal; and the beautiful is a subjective universal—9–12 14. If the beautiful were according to the concept, the representation of beauty would be lost (because source would be gone)—F 15. [Without a source, a judgment would lose its authority]—A 16. The judgment of beauty cannot be due to concepts—14, 15 17. If pleasure from an object preceded our judgment that the object were beautiful, then sensation would rule our judgment—F/ Chapter 9 18. Sensation does not rule the judgment of the beautiful—F 19. The judgment of taste concerning the beautiful precedes the pleasure we feel—17, 18 20. The communicative power in this sort of representation is given by the imagination—F

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21. The imagination plays two cognitive roles: (a) in the schematism of concepts and (b) in free-play (cases in which there are no concepts)— A (cf. First Critique for (a)) 22. The free-play of the imagination is the vehicle by which universal subjective judgments of artistic taste are communicated—20, 21 23. The ability to communicate the free-play of the imagination (once determined) conveys pleasure—F 24. The judgment of taste once determined by the free-play of the imagination yields pleasure—19, 22, 23 25. The judgment of taste determines the object in respect of satisfaction and the predicate of beauty (without a concept)—F 26. The activity of #25 stimulates the understanding in a harmonious activity with the imagination—A 27. The understanding can think about this relation (but this activity is different)—A 28. The understanding can observe that a judgment of taste coincides with the conditions of universality—A 29. [The union with the understanding heightens the dynamic union]—A 30. The understanding works in harmonious concert with the imagination in judgments about the beautiful—25–29 31. The Beautiful is that which pleases universally without requiring a concept—9, 13, 16, 19, 24, 30 This is an important argument for Kant. It rests on some controversial assumptions. For example, in premise #3, it is assumed that without private interests we all react the same way. This assumes that we are all the same (respecting tastes and worldviews). Now this can be understood as: (a) being all the same factually, i.e., we are actually all the same. When Wendy sees x (an artifact or a natural object), then any other person—say Juanita, will automatically judge it the same way—so long that neither party has some vested interest in the artifact or the natural setting. Or it may mean (b) that there is some more general sense that we are all the same—such as being rational animals. But where does this land us? So we are the same on a generic level. So what? How does this ground an aesthetic judgment? Thus, (a) is very implausible. As humans we see more difference than we do similarity. Kant cannot have meant this. But (b)—though it is very plausible—is not very helpful. This is because even if we are the same qua rationality, this does not mean that sans private grounds for self-interest we would all agree that Duchamps’ “Nude Descending the Staircase” is beautiful. Or take John Cage’s “1'1/2" For a String Player.” Or Ezra Pound’s “In a Station of the Metro.” If self-interest were stripped away, would we all appreciate its minimalist structure? Virtually none of us have

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self-interest in any artwork’s success or failure, but that does not insure a uniform response. Premise #3 is problematic. Then there is premise #6, when one judges the beautiful, his judgment is for everyone. It is hard to assess this premise. In Kant’s time, the European colonial age was at its peak. European nations (with their weapons of conflict) had divided and claimed most of the uncharted world (uncharted from the European perspective). They sought to bring Christianity and European values to the unwashed heathen. There was a sensibility of naïve universalism that was rampant.6 It is hard not to speculate whether this shared community worldview is behind premise #6. There is a similarity between the subjective universality in cultural Euro-centrism and the sort of subjective universal here asserted. However, it is clear that a subjective universal is important to Kant’s argument. It is one thing to say that the commands of ethics are universally binding because those commands are formed from an exploration of concepts and the commands, themselves, are concepts. Concepts lend themselves to exacting scrutiny and are objective. But this is not the case for subjective judgments made without concepts. If they are universal, then it must be so in a very contingent way that might include acceptance of some shared art community worldview along with an understanding of artistic or natural purpose. That is a lot to load into the antecedent of a conditional. In premise #8 there is an explicit contrast and an implicit similarity with ethical judgments. Kant frequently argues that ethical judgments are universal because of their subsumption under various determinate concepts— such as “the goodwill,” “autonomy,” “logical coherence,” and “human dignity,” etc. This process of subsuming objects under concepts is outlined in the Transcendental Analytic of the First Critique.7 Thus, it is explicitly set out that judgments of normative value in morality differ in kind from those of aesthetics. However, that is not the end of the story. Implied here is a sense that (at the very least) there are various coincidences of ethical judgments and aesthetic judgments. For example, in Chapter 59, Kant says that the beautiful is a symbol for the morally good (cf. Chapter 42). These similarities are not explained. Kant has set out a difference in kind between judgments made via concepts (the true and the good) and those made without concepts (the beautiful). Kant recognizes that there is (at least) an apparent conflict in the notion of the subjective universal. This gives rise to an antimony (Chapters 55–60): The antinomy of taste is not strictly resolved but follows as a symbol or schema of the resolutions of the antinomies involved in pure reason and ethics. Kant has the good and the true explicitly bumping up against the beautiful, but the underlying manner of this is mysterious. Nonetheless, it is necessary for Kant that judgments of the beautiful not be subsumed under concepts. This is because there is something uniquely special about one’s interaction with the beautiful. Such a position harkens back to Plato and Aristotle. Each also thought that the mode of

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presentation in the beautiful was unique and different from discursive presentations. In premise #14, Kant declares that if judgments of taste were under concepts, then the representation of beauty would be lost. In other words, this is not the way art happens. It is not a dry lecture in the classroom but a vibrant event directly experienced by the subject. This experience has two facets (premise #21). The imagination plays two cognitive roles: (a) in the schematism of concepts and (b) in free-play (cases in which there are no concepts). The imagination works both in processes that contain concepts and those in which a free-play of reflection allows one to feel pleasure and satisfaction. It is the imagination that is the link between the good and the true (on the one hand) and the beautiful (on the other hand). In the first group, imagination works in the schematism in a pivotal role (cf. First Critique, A 137–147, B 176–187). Because of this dual role, the understanding works in harmonious concert with the imagination in judgments about the beautiful (premise #30). It should be remembered that Kant regularly returns to nature as his touchstone for the aesthetic experience. This gives rise to speculations about natural purpose and mechanical execution (Second Part). In human artifacts there also is a purpose. When one speculates upon this purpose from his subjective standpoint, there can emerge nuance and harmony between the True and the Good (under concepts, thus objectively universal) and the Beautiful (the result of disinterested reflection that produces pleasure and satisfaction). But a wall does not separate these two realms. This is because the Beautiful stimulates the imagination. The imagination (Eindbildungskraft) can create another nature (worldview) of its own (Chapters 49–50). In the end it is the role of imagination that ultimately gets the job done: (a) it intermediates between the concept-driven realms of truth and morality and the non-concept domain of the beautiful; and (b) it allows the presentation of art in such a way that we are drawn into a reflective mode by which a playful imagination displays a pastiche for quality, a feeling of the furtherance of life (= play of imagination) and quantity, that checks vital powers to create a strong emotion (= an earnest exercise of the imagination, Chapters 23–28). Beneath all the turgid prose, Kant suggests that art is different from truth and ethics. Art entices us to feel and be struck by the artifact in such a way that the rest of our personal worldview is shaken and stirred by process. Though Kant was not an aficionado, he did recognize the major role that art plays in forming our personal worldview. His writings suggest various links between the Beautiful and the Good along with the Beautiful and the True. Not too much can be made of this because of the rather ephemeral nature of aesthetic judgments. In terms of the traditional paradigm, philosophy depicts art as different in kind as an object of human perception. There are special epistemological rules that come to play. This leans toward experiential art. We are linked with Horace and Aristotle (against Plato and Longinus) toward

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judgments made via audience reaction through a tortured process of disinterested response that connects to others’ reaction so that a subjective universal arises (not subsumed by a concept). This depiction characterizes art (including narrative fiction) as different in kind from philosophy. Thus, Kant will represent an antagonist to the thesis that my essay is putting forward—that narrative fiction can be philosophy.

Hume: Art as Refined Sentiment of Taste David Hume offers the reader an approach to aesthetics that mirrors his approach to ethics.8 Ethical norms begin with the sentiments, he declares. The sentiments can give rise to pleasure. Hume suggests that this stimulated pleasure (among those who have acquired delicate taste) is what should serve as the standard of taste within a society—even though there are many relativistic challenges to such a standard. Unlike science, in which the particulars are agreed upon but the inductive laws are subject to controversy, art [and ethics] can set out general principles to which all agree. These principles of universal normative assent are linguistically grounded: elegance, propriety, simplicity, spirit in writing, etc., but beyond this nominal linguistic concord, there is great disagreement on how to subsume particular works of art into these categories. The answer to the problem of subsumption comes from the critic who develops a delicate imaginative taste so that he perceives: (a) what is being attempted in the artistic endeavor, (b) a list of all the ingredients involved, and (c) how the ingredients work together in an attempt to satisfy the artistic design. In earlier cases, the social/historical context of the work is also considered. Pluralism and not monism thus becomes the critical cannon. Argument 2.2: The Most Beautiful Artifact Is One That Delicately Stimulates the Imagination9 1. [Sentiments are right if someone experiences them]—A 2. [Judgments are right only in those limited instances that they correspond to material, empirically based reality]—A 3. All sentiments are correct; only some judgments are correct—1, 2/ p. 6 4. The ascription of Beauty to an artifact is a sentimental reaction on the part of the observer—A 5. There are some rules of composition that (by experience) have been found to please over the ages and in all countries—F/ p. 7 6. [Any invariant rules that are proven by experience are only quasi-objective]—A 7. The rules in art are quasi-objective—3–6/ p. 8 8. Poetry is often based on gross falsehoods—F 9. Exact verisimilitude is not artful—A

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10. [Poetry is not an expression of truth]—7–9 11. The stimulation of the observer’s imagination is artful—4/ p. 10 12. The most effective stimulation is by delicacy (as shown by the Don Quixote example)—A10 13. Delicacy is when the organs [of the audience] are so fine and so exact so as to allow every ingredient to be perceived—A/ p. 11 14. Beauty is what pleases; ugliness is what displeases—A 15. [The most effective stimulation of the imagination yields the most pleasure]—A 16. The most beautiful artifact is one that delicately stimulates the imagination—11–15 In Argument 2.2 Hume grounds the entire process of criticism in sentiment. Sentiment is notoriously subjective. If I say that I experience anger when I read a scene in a novel at some time, t1, then it is always the case that I am correct that I experienced anger at t1. It is not relevant for the question to be asked whether I was mistaken in thinking that I felt anger. Individual empirical experience is taken to be foundational and not subject to further meaningful inquiry. For Hume sentiments are like this. The emphasis here is clearly upon the individual observer (though the criteria for the observer’s choice are open and available for intersubjective examination, epistemological externalism). Premise #5 is a segue from the individual observer to more general observations about art. The mechanism for this is a quasi-inductive argument that states there is good reason to believe that, if such and such literary conventions have worked well in the past (such as in Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Milton), then they will work today. This is a strange sort of assertion from the man who brought contingency into inductive logic.11 However, it may not be so strange if one takes this only to be a rule of thumb and not some sort of law or statistical generalization. In this case, Hume could refer to simple handbook-style rules such as the twentiethcentury classic Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style.12 There are certain tried and true rules of good writing, and some of these (partly on the basis of longevity) can be set out in a sort of rulebook.13 However, fiction is rather messier than the expository or persuasive writing of most handbooks. First of all, fiction is merely contrived by the artist (according to Hume). If that which owes its origin to the fancy of an artist (and not to the empirical affairs of nature) is false, then artifacts are false.14 The events recounted did not happen. But the artifact cannot be so removed from our experience as to make it irrelevant. No. The artist devises a careful ensemble that delicately arranges the elements into an assembled whole. In Argument 2.2, the story of the hogshead of wine with the key and leather thong is brought forth to give some objective backing to what seems to be a hopelessly subjective process. So long

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as the evaluation is made using one’s empirical faculties, auditory (for music), visual (for painting), touch (for textiles and crafts), then one has a foundational, empirical point of connection for those wishing to establish a workable standard of taste. This is no easy task, but in the end Hume turns his attention to those few whose developed tastes are to be trusted. They will be the high priests of artistic merit. Most of Western art criticism has developed just along these lines. It makes sense to many that they entrust the canon of taste to the esoteric few. But what of those others who are standing at the gates? Are they to remain as they are, hat in hand, waiting for the high priests to toss them change?15 Hume addresses the problem of evaluating art head-on within the contexts of his empirically mitigated skepticism. This makes artistic, normative standards (be they art or ethics) as derivative from his overall philosophy. They have some connections with experience (via the sentimental reactions of pleasure, etc.), but that connection is contingent upon the degree to which those sentiments were given context by the standard of taste. Such contexts create expectations. If the artifact satisfies the given expectations, then it may occasion sentiments of satisfaction and pleasure. But the question then becomes whether those sentiments of satisfaction and pleasure have been occasioned by the beautiful or by a functionalfulfillment model randomly chosen and successfully executed (the coherence model for truth—though Hume is clear that art is not about the presentation of truth). That task is left to scientists and philosophers. However, in the end of the day, it is unclear whether Hume’s solution does not devolve into the sorts of prejudice that he abhors elsewhere.16 As we consider the traditional paradigm of “philosophy of,” Hume weighs in by saying that the artifact should be judged by those who know, and their basis of assessment is sentiment. Truth is known via externalist, intersubjective critical empiricism. This is the basis of science (which stands as the primary example of matters of fact). In contrast to the true, the good and the beautiful are known in a second way (via sentiments). This mode of knowing yields general normative categories but is rather incomplete when it comes to offering definitive answers as to which particular actions are good or which particular artifacts are beautiful. Instead, we are meant to trust a standard of taste that has been created by the high priests of ethics and art criticism (the literary intelligentsia [philosophers?]). These keepers of the canon based their considered opinions upon the tradition of what has been considered to be good or beautiful in the past. Obviously, this strategy is rather conservative in that it tends to enshrine what has been while shutting out current work in the field. Hume does not have this difficulty with the True because theories of science must always measure up to the empirical explanandum (even though in a non-necessary judgment). But in the case of ethics and art, there is no objective measure (not even a non-necessary judgment—epistemologically

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it is of a lower order). Thus, it is very possible that attitudes and norms might become entrenched without adequate means of self-renewal and critical examination. Regarding the traditional paradigm, Hume walks in line that philosophy (or some other critical literary convention) dictates an overlay that renders a verdict on the artifact to judge its worth. The artifact, itself, is not a philosophical agent but is interpreted. Again, Hume will be a detractor to the thesis of this essay. CONTEMPORARY THEORIES This portion of the book provides brief overviews of selected pivotal writers from the traditional paradigm of having philosophy illumine what literature is all about. Again, the reader must distinguish between those who are engaged in aesthetics/criticism from those who are propounding a method for creating art. For example, the Impressionist Movement in nineteenth-century painting would count as a method for creating art. Thus, it is not recognized here. Some method advocates seem also to advocate a groundwork for criticism—such as the Wassily Kandinsky and Der Blaue Reiter movement. However, on the basis of the objective ground of criticism, these writers are omitted in this presentation. This is because our concern is setting out examples of the “philosophy of” paradigm even when the practitioners are not trained philosophers.

Nietzsche: Art as the Battleground Between Dionysus and Apollo There is something comforting and frightening about Nietzsche’s vision of the purpose of art in society. Art is seen from the perspective of the artist (what she intends to do) and from the perspective of the effects upon the audience (how the intentions play out in the audience’s reaction). Within this twofold perspective, Nietzsche upholds both the ethic of the noble and the controlled aspect of art as well as the ethic of uncontrolled, wild, intoxicating effects of a really effective artwork. These tensions are present in his work, The Birth of Tragedy.17 Argument 2.3: Apollo vs. Dionysus 1. Apollo is (the emblem of) a careful craftsman image maker; Dionysus is (the emblem of) an imageless intoxicated maker—A/chapter 1 2. Apollo is the god of prophecy—F 3. [Prophecy is the highest of powers]—F 4. Apollo [as a universal emblem of careful craftsmen with a controlled, prophetic message] is connected with the highest of powers—1–3 5. The bond between humans is strongly renewed by magic—A

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6. Singing and dancing bring participants in communion with a vibrant human realm—A 7. Dionysus [as an emblem of the human element of magic, emotion, and physical action] is understood individually as a key component in human enjoyment of art—5–6 8. [Both the influences of Apollo and Dionysus are pivotal in human enjoyment of art]—4, 7 9. When one gazes and contemplates upon truth (via art from Apollo), this is one legitimate outcome—A/chapter 3 10. In ancient Greek tragedy there was an excitement in the Greek Chorus such that the Dionysus element was stimulated—A/chapter 8 11. In Greek myths, the theft of fire by Prometheus is on one account a sin, but on another account a virtue [it’s a sin because it disobeys the commands of God; it is a virtue because it promotes a sense of progress]—A 12. [Human progress in knowledge and technology is a good]—A 13. Human action in the spirit of Prometheus is a good—9–12/ chapter 9 14. [Some view the spirit of the individual, without checks, as a sin]—A / chapter 10 15. [Individualism trumps all else]—A 16. Art is ultimately the expression of the artist via both Dionysus and Apollo, with the former’s individualistic vitality being the most important element—4, 7, 8, 13, 15 Argument 2.1 is a very influential argument in the framing of the contemporary view of aesthetics—particularly in narrative art. When the classical writers such as Aristotle or Horace or Longinus talk about pleasure and instruction, it is never made clear the sort of pleasure that is involved. One could equally call “pleasure” the experience one gets from listening to a singer recite the Odyssey for five-plus hours or the “pleasure” one gets at the bawdy jokes of Aristophanes’ Lysistrata in a 90-minute time frame with costumes, sets, music and so on. Certainly the former pleasure may be much better crafted and full of many great thoughts and driven by a revenge-tragedy theme (always popular with audiences), but the latter is charged with sexual energy juxtaposed with images of war and gore. The Odyssey narrative is more Apollo-oriented, while Lysistrata is more Dionysus-oriented. In more modern terms, we all might admire the care of Joyce’s Ulysses or Finnegan’s Wake for their craftsmanship and comment upon the English/Irish/Western literary traditions, but they are a bit dry. There are few sweat stains on the pages of these books as opposed to D.H. Lawrence’s novels such as Women in Love or Lady Chatterley’s Lover. William Faulkner was always considered to be leaning toward Apollo, while Earnest Hemmingway was in the Dionysus camp.

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What is additionally curious is that Dionysus is associated with individualism. In the United States, individualism has always been held in high regard. The immigrants who came and took the land by conquest over the native peoples saw themselves as striking out for an individual vision of life (the personal worldview). This was connected with a spiritedness that often overflowed to violence, sexual licentiousness, and the general force of über-personality to solve life’s problems (as opposed to reasoned philosophical discussion). If Nietzsche is correct here, then we are drawn to Dionysus’s vision, but not to the exclusion of Apollo. We do not commend overly violent, overly sexual, overly phrenetic depictions—void of careful craftsmanship that is grounded in a rational sensibility. Thus, Dionysus alone is not enough. Though it positively tips the balance between two Apollo-based treatments, it is not singly sufficient as a presentation on its own. Readers of my work in ethics and social/political philosophy will be aware of the Personal Worldview Imperative.18 One of the four parts of the command is that all people seek a personal worldview that is complete. This entails that the agent acquires a goodwill. There were two interpretations of the goodwill: (a) the Kantian interpretation (that depended upon rationality considering its own criteria and the criteria of deductive and inductive coherence as an essential and ultimately trumping criterion), and (b) the Augustine interpretation (that called upon emotional input that was necessary but not sufficient for the goodwill). In this way, I recognize the same two categories as Nietzsche. The difference is that we reverse the order. Now, to be fair, my earlier discussions were in the context of the Good and not in the context of the Beautiful. But to be consistent with my understanding of the public practice of religion (that I hold to be parallel to one’s disposition toward art), I still hold that Apollo and not Dionysus should hold sway. The reason for this is that in the end, within the realm of action, it is always the Good that is our salvation. This must be understood within the context of the True and the Beautiful, but if one were to construct a triangle, the Good would be at the apex, with the True and the Beautiful at its bases. Nietzsche would schematize this rather differently. He might put the Beautiful as a starting point in which the True and the Good might find

The Good

The True

The Beautiful

Figure 2.1 The Relationship Between the Good, the True, and the Beautiful

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their character. From the standpoint of an individual, as such, this is understandable. The noble, to kalon, is a term of commendation that is very individually, and class-status–oriented. It can be tied to individual excellence and accomplishment (generally understood via economic/social status, or it can be tied to individual excess and narcissism). In the end, Nietzsche offers an interesting model for the personal and shared community worldview perspectives. It has much support in sales figures for novels, movies, plays, and the explosion of interest in hip-hop and rap music. Though I disagree with Nietzsche’s priorities, it is an issue that we all must confront in our quest to create a personal worldview that we believe in. In the twentieth century, the critical game changed. The First World War shocked the Occidental world in a fundamental way. These shock waves resonated. One could easily write a two-volume work on simply the theories of the twentieth century. Because this exposition is a very highly edited overview, it is impossible to recognize many very fine and influential figures.

Clive Bell: Emotion and Significant Form Clive Bell believes that art is concerned with emotion, but not any sort of emotion. It is a controlled sort of emotional response that he calls “aesthetic emotion.” This is similar to the sort of disinterested rapture that Kant describes. Good art is that which occasions in the audience this sort of aesthetic emotion. Bad art does not. The trigger of aesthetic emotion is what Bell calls significant form. The argument for this is as follows: Argument 2.4: Significant Form Is That Which Charges Aesthetic Emotion19 1. When people view Cézanne, Poussin, Piero della Francesco, et al., their aesthetic emotions are stirred—A 2. The relations of lines and colors in their presentation is called significant form—A 3. In our experience of art, we begin with our personal experience and from this various artifacts provoke aesthetic emotion according to individual taste—F 4. [When individuals view artifacts, they are moved by their individual taste to aesthetic emotion]—1–3 5. When people say something is “beautiful,” they mean “a combination of lines and colors that provoke aesthetic emotion”—A 6. When people say something is “beautiful,” they mean that it possesses significant form (though many use the word more broadly than this)—2, 5

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7. There are many different sorts of formal presentations, e.g., realistic form, mathematical form, compositional form, created (non-realistic forms)—F 8. All formal categories can become significant—F 9. What raises a depiction within a form category to significant is its ability to provoke aesthetic emotion within its audience—A 10. Significant form is that which charges aesthetic emotion—4, 6, 7–9 Bell grounds his argument in painting. But the principles are generally applicable because the notion of significant form could be applied to other art areas, as well. What is important here for our purposes is that art is judged as being effective or not based upon the reaction of the audience. Here this is stated as the ability to evince aesthetic emotion— presumably first among the critics and then among the hoi polloi. One can judge art by the way the audience receives it. But let us be perfectly clear about this approach: It is relativistic and possibly circular. Different societies and historical periods will judge art differently. The seventeenth century rated John Donne to be a minor metaphysical poet.20 And yet when Sir Herbert Grierson decided to edit a modern edition of the Songs and Sonnets, all of a sudden, Donne became a major poet and the precursor to T.S. Eliot.21 What mattered was the modernist tastes of the post-World War I period. The interests of various periods will occasion various aesthetic pleasures: realistic painting depicting religious scenes, or realistic painting depicting Greek and Roman myths, or realistic painting depicting domestic life, or realistic landscapes, or realistic still life, or impressionistic modifications of all of the foregoing, or other schools’ presentations to the public. Thus, under this standard of criticism, a work of art is judged according to the shared art community worldview (c.f. Hume and Horace). It’s possibly circular because significant form is that which evinces aesthetic emotion and aesthetic emotion is the criterion for some artifact having significant form. One way out of this potential circularity is to pivot to the pragmatic theory of truth. Because outcomes of popularity can be measured (by critics or by the general audience), one might make the secondary assumption that people buy artifacts (paintings, novels, movie tickets, etc.) because they find them aesthetically moving. In some cases the critics will love a book or movie and the general public demurs. In other cases it is just the opposite. If we make this minor emendation to Bell, then what we are left with is a theory of audience criticism. A work of art is measured by the way the audience is affected.22 Under this interpretation, Clive Bell is really an advocate of audience criticism not too dissimilar to Monroe Beardsley.23

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Martin Heidegger: Art and Truth Martin Heidegger is a systematic philosopher (like Kant and Aristotle), meaning that his whole philosophical project is behind each initiative. Heidegger is an advocate of the correspondence theory of truth. Like Plato and the pre-Socratics, Heidegger posits being universally understood (sein) and its designation and individual connection (da-sein) as hovering in the vicinity of truth as a principle (or form) of unification (Dasein). The contrast to Plato is that there is less concern for the moral instruction of the State. For Heidegger (like Kierkegaard) it is the individual and her own personal quest that is the center of attention. Political states come and go. They are transitory. Beyond these, each of us must find a way to an authentic relationship to unification (Dasein). Argument 2.5: The Artist, Artifact, and Truth24 1. What something is constitutes its essence or nature; the origin of x is the source of x’s nature—A/ p. 17 2. [Whenever the origin of x also is the outcome of x, either circularity or a dialectical relationship is at play]—F 3. The artist is the origin of the artifact, and the artifact is the origin of the artist [in a non-circular manner]—A/ p. 17 4. [The artist and artifact have a dialectical interaction that reveals the nature of each]—1–3 5. Artifacts possess natural and artificial “thing-ness”—A/ pp. 21–22 6. In the process of making the artificial, thing-ness comes-to-be via hule (matter) + morphe (shape), bringing forth eidos (form)—F/ pp. 26–27 7. The artifact bears the characteristics of its shape via a unity of the manifold of sensation as it discloses the formed matter—4–6/ pp. 28–29 8. Using the form of the subject matter (in this case peasant shoes), Van Gogh reveals what the shoes are in truth—A/ p. 36 9. To reveal truth one is not merely reproducing images but is reproducing a thing’s general essence, aka truth—5–8/ p. 37 10. Art gets us closer to what is (an ontological revelation)—A/ p. 43 11. The revelation of ontological reality occurs by presenting a worldview to the audience—A/pp. 44–45 12. The presentation of a worldview to the audience opens up a new worldview perspective that sets forth its own conditions of truth—A/ pp. 45–50 13. Truth [known via worldview] reveals being—10–12 /p. 50 14. Art (from the maker’s standpoint) requires craftsmanship (techne) that is a way of making public [the becoming of] that which is concealed—A/ pp. 58–59

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15. Effective art is the occasion of the “happening of truth” for an audience—A/p. 71 16. Art is the becoming and happening of truth for an audience [from the perspective of the artifact and the mind of the artist]—4, 9, 13–15 /p. 71 Heidegger’s argument must first be seen in the context of his other work. For Heidegger, the principal cause for authentic people living in the world is to return to the unity of their own selves, da-sein, with the being of other entities: sein (being universally understood) via a relationship with that other ground of being: Dasein.25 Finding this relationship is necessary post-Aristotle who (on this account) created a schism between sein and da-sein that must be reconciled (according to the prescriptions of the pre-Socratics).26 Thus, the human quest is defined in a searching for a connection with Dasein. One avenue to accomplish this is via art. Because artifacts and the artist interact such that each can be said to be the origin of each other (premise #4), then the audience can approach a dynamic unity that displays the artifact’s thing-ness through a form that is the result of the shape and material constitution of the artifact (premise #6). For example, in a poem the material aspect might be the paper on which the poem is presented, the type fonts, type style, and ink color. The shape might be the relation to various prosody forms (heroic couplets, Spenserian stanzas, sonnets, etc.). From the interaction of these emerges the form of the experience that conveys the reader to another worldview (premise #11). This new worldview presents its own conditions of truth (premise #12). Ultimately, Heidegger sees this as revealing Dasein (premise #13). In this way, Heidegger sees the artistic enterprise as assuming a correspondence theory of truth in order to instruct (get the audience into a relationship with that being [outside the agent]: Dasein). If this reading of Heidegger is correct, then art plays a crucial role in beings living on the earth. Like Plato’s Symposium, beauty is uniquely situated to lead people to truth. Like Aristotle, there is a connection to ratiocination. Art is a means of philosophy for the masses. Such a conclusion works for Aristotle. On the other hand, since Aristotle is the first analytic philosopher, and since analytic philosophy separates the subject and object and compartmentalizes it (the source of our human alienation), then in the larger sense Heidegger would reject Aristotle. This same sort of criticism might be leveled against Kant. Longinus separates the author from others by attributing genius of vision to the artist so that he or she is the other: separate and apart from the rest of humanity. This is probably true of Nietzsche as well (though one must patch together passages on the überman with those on the artist who portrays the Apollonian or Dionysian vision for the audience).

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Heidegger does not do this. For him the author and text are origins of each other via a dialectical interaction (premise #4). This means that the understanding of the author becomes more complicated than was imagined by those advocating the genius depiction of the author. Heidegger, via a dialectical process, both elevates the work and lowers the artist. Because these are in dialectical interaction, neither can claim ascendancy or “origin” status. This standpoint resonates with Michel Foucault, who creates a similar worldview appreciation of the authorwork amalgam. In the end, the audience will judge a work of art according to the truth of the presented worldview as interpreted philosophically. When one enters the projected worldview, one must evaluate it through a philosophical model. Heidegger is a little vague on the mechanics of this process— leaving it to an internalist sensibility to connect with Dasein. I would propose a more transparent approach. Deciding on whether to accept a new worldview is analogous to the way we accept novel normative theories (more on this in Part 2). If this ascription is correct, then Heidegger’s account of the nature of art as truth fits in well with my account of normative worldview.27 Though I place him within the traditional paradigm, there are hints of a more active role for the artifact.

Jacques Derrida: Rhetorical Flourishes in Interpreting the Work Like Danto, Derrida elevates the role of the critic. But at the same time he lowers the intent of the artist as a critical role. This is because the work, and not the author, takes center stage. It is not the work as intended by the author, but the work taken for its exhibited characteristics. There are two main interpretative devices that Derrida uses in this quest. The larger umbrella can be termed the “deconstruction method.” A brief, simplified summary of this method is as follows: Deconstruction Method: 1. Find the limits of the text by identifying and overturning conceptual metaphysical oppositions within the work through uncovering polar oppositions. 2. The critic inserts his own ideas in the void created in #1. 3. The critic re-assesses the work after having emended it as per #2. Often, Derrida fulfills #1 by his use of neologisms. Derrida is famous for his neologisms. These are deep inquiries into words. For example, supplement in French means “substitute” or “addition.” Rousseau used the word consistently in the first sense (presumably on purpose), but Derrida

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says that the second sense waits in the wings and must be employed as well—even in this case when the writer explicitly did not intend it. In this case, Derrida sets out Rousseau as being between the Enlightenment and Romanticism—this on the basis of an alternate reading of a meaning not intended by the author! Obviously, in this circumstance the critic recreates the text in his own image. This is the height of the traditional approach in which the philosopher is the one who renders meaning by means of the overlay of a philosophical theory upon the artifact. A commonly used term to signify examining a work, as such, is “textuality.” Textuality assumes the stance in which the written work is the starting point from which the interpretative process begins. For Derrida this interpretative process is a play of differences. This is a key phrase. Let’s explore some meanings of the phrase. One meaning would be a “play of differences.” Derrida was a very playful individual.28 For Derrida the difference means to: (a) differentiate and (b) to postpone.29 In Deconstructionism the connections are made outside the work of art. The critic supplements the artwork himself. This can be called the principle of supplementarity. After the process of supplementing the work of art, the new amalgam contains both the work of art and the critic’s emendations. For Derrida the critic works between the signified (what is meant) and the signifier (the vehicle for conveying the meaning). The signifier functions as a trace that leads the critic to what was signified prior. This distinction goes back to the Swiss linguist Ferdinard de Saussure. Saussure says in Course in General Linguistics (1916)30 that language is a system of differences without positive terms. Derrida borrows this idea of differences and adds a temporal dimension. Whereas Saussure keeps language fixed in time, Derrida doesn’t. Derrida juxtaposes two senses of the word, différer (which translates both as “to differ” and “to defer”). When we create the noun forms, the split is apparent by sight but not by sound (since they are pronounced the same): différence and différance. The first form is synchronic (static in the sense of Saussure), whereas the second implies a diachronic process that unites both senses. This is because, in speech, both come together. But only in writing is the variation seen. This means that writing is more primary than speech. Derrida abhors the fact that in the Western Tradition speech is more privileged than writing by the hoi polloi, but in the logical order just the opposite is the case. Argument 2.6: Plato’s Pharmacy31 1. Theuth, the inventor of writing, presents his invention to King Thamus of Egypt—F 2. Writing lasts quite a long time—F 3. Memory, the outcome of speech, often lasts a short time—F

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4. [There are often points that we wish to use, but we forget them and so miss the chance]—F 5. The writing invention of Theuth is a “drug” (pharmacon) that will extend memory—1–4 6. [If one knows she has a crutch to protect against lost memories, then one will not try so hard to remember]—A 7. ‘Pharmacon’ is also a poison—F 8. [A crutch poisons its possessor instead of helping him]—A 9. Writing is a poison to be avoided—6–8 10. Writing is both a helpful drug as well as a poison—5, 9 This battle between writing and speech is illustrated in the essay “Plato’s Pharmacy” through the story in Plato’s Phaedrus in which Theuth, the socalled inventor of writing, presents his invention to King Thamus of Egypt as a cure for forgetfulness. The king believes just the opposite will be the result, i.e., forgetfulness. This is because “pharmacon” means both “drug” and “poison.” Was there ever a logic prior to the split of meanings that united the two? This sort of question is the suggestive diachronic of Derrida. To know the limitations of a text is very useful under the traditional paradigm. There are many limitations of a text that may prove to be relevant. It is impossible to know what they are in an a priori fashion. Deconstruction, however, (as per Derrida) opens itself up to trivial word play. This is just like Socrates’ dismissal of Prodicus in Plato’s Protagoras.32 A possible problem is that there are no externalist signposts to all for intersubjective evaluation. The critical theory rests upon internalist apprehensions and the attribution of meanings and their consequences that may not be a part of the original design of the artwork.33 This is reminiscent of the London artist and her posters for her lost cat. If her posters (contrary to her intention) can be called art, then why not the critic’s reconstruction based upon criteria totally foreign to the intention of the author? Derrida is thus representative of the elevation of the critic as he or she playfully finds angles of cleavage within the work in order to take it apart for the purpose of rearrangement according to the critic’s own worldview within a coherence truth theory reconstructed.

Conclusion What characterizes the traditional paradigm in the modern and contemporary eras is that philosophers talk about ways to understand art as if art, itself, cannot do that on its own. Now it is not the purpose of this book to suggest that the traditional “philosophy of” approach should be jettisoned. Indeed, since philosophy is often concerned with first principles

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and the way they interact within a constructed system that is either artificial or seeks to imitate nature, then it has much to offer to other disciplines as sort of an outside reviewer. These insights can be very useful. I have presented the canonical way that philosophy relates to art— especially narrative literature—with respect. However, this is not the end of the story. What follows is yet another way to understand the relationship between these two areas in which “philosophy of” is actually turned on its head and another discipline, narrative art, can become philosophy on its own terms. Stay tuned. Part 2 is coming right up.

Notes 1. Much of the writing on the purpose and function of literature repeats the ancient critics, e.g., John Dryden, An Essay of Dramatic Poesy, ed. Thomas Arnold. 3rd ed., rev. by William T. Arnold (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1918); Joseph Addison, “The Spectator, No. 62 and 412” in The Spectator: A New Edition, ed. Henry Morely. 3 vols. (London: George Routledge & Sons, 1891); Alexander Pope, An Essay on Criticism (London: W. Lewis, 1711); and Samuel Johnson, “The Rambler, No. 4” (vol. 1) The Rambler. 5 vols. (London: J. Payne, 1752). 2. Chapter 49, AK 315–316, B. 159; Rudolf H. Weingertner, “A Note on Kant’s Artistic Interests” Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 16 (1957): 261–262. 3. Immanuel Kant, Kritik der reinen Vernunft in Kants Werke, Akademie Textausgabe vol. 4 (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter & Co, 1968 [1781]). 4. The traditional translation for Kritik der Urteilskraft could usefully be amended as the Critique of the Power of Judging. What is important here is to ascertain the grounds for making any judgments about beauty. The text referred to here is the principal text: Kant, Critique of Judgment, tr. J.H. Bernard (New York, NY: Macmillan/Hafner Press, 1951); ibidem, Kritik der Urtheilskraft in Kants Werke, Akademie Textausgabe vol. 5 (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter & Co, 1968 [1790]). 5. Immanuel Kant, Kritik der reinen Vernunft (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter & Co., 1968 [1781/1904], A70, B95. 6. The dynamics of colonialism are enormous. A few recent books on various aspects of unjustified universalization include: Muhammad Sani Umar, Islam and Colonialism (Leiden: Brill, 2006); William Roger Lovis, Ends of British Imperialism: The Scramble for Empire, Suez, and Decolonialization (New York, NY: Palgrave, 2006); Hamid Irbouh, Art in the Service of Colonialism (New York, NY: St. Martins, 2005); and Ann Renée Cramer, Cash, Color, and Colonialism (Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 2005). 7. For a speculative literary exploration of the Transcendental Aesthetic, see my short story “Kant Awakened” in Michael Boylan and Charles Johnson, An Innovative Introduction to Philosophy: Fictive Narrative, Primary Texts, and Responsive Writing (Boulder, CO: Westview, 2010): 140–146. 8. David Hume, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, ed. Eric Steinberg (Indianapolis, IN: Hackett, 1977 [1748]), especially XII.2 & 3, pp. 107–114. 9. David Hume, “Of the Standard of Taste” in John W. Lenz, ed. Of the Standard of Taste and Other Essays (Indianapolis, IN: Bobbs-Merrill, 1965 [1742]).

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10. From Don Quixote, Part II, ch. 13. The example is that there are two experts asked to evaluate a hogshead of wine. The first said it was fine except for a faint leathery taste. The second said it was fine except for a faint taste of iron. It was found that at the bottom of the cask was a key with a leather thong. 11. Enquiry, IV.2, p. 22ff. 12. William Strunk and E.B. White, The Elements of Style, 4th ed. (New York, NY: Longmans, 1999 [1918]). 13. Some might contend that in the realm of fiction, that handbooks are rather more difficult. Of course, there are several classics such as John Gardner’s The Art of Fiction (New York, NY: Vintage, 1991), but there seems to be less unanimity on these as guidebooks to successful style. 14. Cf. Plato, op. cit. 15. I am reminded of Jude Fawley who is turned away from Christchurch (aka Oxford) in Jude the Obscure. 16. For example, Hume’s argument against miracles in Enquiry II.x. 17. Friedrich Nietzsche, The Birth of Tragedy, tr. Raymond Geuss and Ronald Speirs (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999). 18. The three key depictions of the Personal Worldview Imperative are in Michael Boylan, A Just Society (New York, NY and Oxford: Rowman and Littlefield, 2004): ch. 2; Michael Boylan, Morality and Global Justice (Boulder, CO: Westview, 2011): ch. 2; and Michael Boylan, Natural Human Rights: A Theory (New York, NY and Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014): ch. 6. 19. Clive Bell, Art (London: Trafalgar Square, 1927 [1914]). 20. Samuel Johnson, Lives of the English Poets, 2 vols. (London: Henry Froede, 1906 [1779, 1781]), p. 13ff. 21. Sir Herbert Grierson, The Poems of John Donne (London: Oxford University Press, 1912). 22. My inference is that the other way around, viz., that the significant form by itself stimulates the aesthetic emotion, is prone to the suggested problems. I am offering a way to read Bell that will solve these objections. 23. Monroe Beardsley, Aesthetics: Problems in the Philosophy of Criticism, 2nd ed. (Indianapolis, IN: Hackett, 1981). 24. Martin Heidegger, “The Origin of the Work of Art” in Poetry, Language, and Thought, tr. Albert Hofstadter (New York, NY: Harper Collins, 1971). 25. These concepts are first set out by Heidegger in Being and Time, tr. Joan Stanbauch (Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 1996 [1927]). 26. Ibid., cf. Martin Heidegger, Hegel’s Concept of Experience, tr. Kenley Royce Dove (New York, NY: Harper and Row, 1970); ibidem, Introduction to Metaphysics, tr. Gregory Fried (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2000). 27. Set out in Boylan (2004), (2011), and (2014). 28. A personal anecdote illustrates this. In a discussion period at a conference at Villanova University, I pointed out a contradiction in his presented argument and Derrida replied, “So what? Isn’t life a little more fun that way?” He both meant and did not mean this. Part of his strategy was (like Socrates) pedagogical. 29. It is instructive to compare this function of the “play of differences” to others in his tradition. For Gadamer it is the activity of interpreting. For Saussure it is the linking of objective seminological functions. 30. Ferdinard de Saussure, Course in General Linguistics (New York, NY: McGraw Hill, 1966 [1916]). 31. “Plato’s Pharmacy” is a key essay from La Disséminations (Paris: Éditions du Seuil, 1972).

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32. Prodicus of Ceos made careful verbal distinctions that amounted to nothing (nominalism—according to Plato). He also worked on morality (see Xenophon, Memorabilia II.1 21–34). He is a supporting actor in Plato’s Protagoras. 33. This example was suggested to me by Simon Blackburn while he was at Trinity College, Cambridge University in 2005. It seems that the artist created 25 or so posters around her flat in Bloomsbury. She was an artist in residence at University College London’s (UCL) Slade School of Fine Art (a very prominent post). People in Bloomsbury changed the intent of the poster project by gently removing the posters and having them framed as an “art investment.” Does the artist in that event lose the power to make simple posters for a purpose (such as retrieving one’s cat)? Do all material visuals from a visual artist automatically qualify as art? This would mean that the poster cannot speak for itself. Its meaning is foisted upon it by the audience. When that audience are philosophers, then we have a “philosophy of” situation that characterizes the traditional paradigm.

Part 2

The Structure of the New Paradigm

3

What Makes an Artifact Philosophy?

The Topics and Method of Presentation of Philosophy The core mission of philosophy is to expound on the subject areas of Logic, Ethics, Epistemology, and Metaphysics. These four areas are thought by many to exhibit the fundamental questions of what it means to be an authentic and sincere person living on earth.1 Philosophy also engages in other activities subsumed under the “philosophy of” umbrella. It does so via the four foundational areas as they clarify and interpret what other disciplines attempt to accomplish. For example, in philosophy of science all four areas can be incorporated. Logic is essential because it is an open question post-Hume whether inductive logic is really a reliable procedure for science.2 Many controversies have arisen on Bayes Theorem and other approaches.3 Remember that Aristotle in Posterior Analytics II. 19 creates a little war narrative to describe the process. The logic of science is fertile ground. Then there is the epistemology and metaphysics of science. This was the major emphasis of the modern period of Western Philosophy. How do we come to know truths about nature and what is the reality of the discovered object. Finally, there is the ethics of how we come to know.4 This has been a rather late comer to the banquet. But it is important. As I have said several times before, I say it again: These “philosophy of” projects have merit. I am not denigrating them. I have been an active participant in them. But the question is whether there might be something more. Might the object of investigation actually be an active player in the game? Newton certainly thought so. He titled his principal work Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica (1687).5 He thought that, by engaging in explanations of nature that were not driven by qualitative distinctions and deductive logic, he could incorporate his version of the calculus and so capture (at least on simple models) a way to structuralize motion and interactions between masses. This was a powerful technique. It moved philosophers such as Kant to aspire to a mechanical account of epistemology and metaphysics. It even

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infected Kant’s ethics in the first form of the categorical imperative that examines the generic description of an action to ascertain whether there is a logical inconsistency when generalized to all. Logical inconsistency entails a prohibition. What is not prohibited or what is not a duty (to rescue) will be a permission.6 So the subject matter of philosophy is fivefold: Ethics, Logic, Metaphysics, Epistemology, and “Philosophy of” (fill in the object). Next, there is the methodology of philosophy. For the most part, philosophy in the West has been presented by what I call direct discourse. Direct discourse works this way. One seeks to be able to present all arguments within a deductive presentation that assumes the flow of information presented in Table 3.1. What direct discourse argumentation is all about is someone (the speaker) convincing someone else (the audience) about the truth of something controversial (point of contention). To do this, two important tools are necessary: the common body of knowledge (a group of accepted facts and values that are generally agreed to pertain to the world we live in) and deductive argument (rules of presentation that present short declarative sentences that have truth value—called premises). Because the premises purport a truth, they need a justification. For simplicity, I have narrowed the sorts of justifications into three categories: assertion (the say-so of the speaker only), fact (a general agreement between speaker and audience),7 and inference (indicated by previously numbered premises that logically cause one to accept this premise). Direct discourse presentation is based upon deductive logic and its rules to create formal, valid certainty. One can always argue about the truth or falsity of any particular premise, but any good practitioner can construct the array such that the whole is valid (formally true). Such a presentation moves all debate to the truth or falsity of the given premises. Once this process is concluded (and it can take some time), a resolution is achieved (either pro or con to the point of contention, aka the conclusion of the argument). Direct discourse arguments have as their advantage that they are clear and precise. They set out the terms of the information flow according to Table 3.1 The Flow of Information in Direct Discourse Argumentation8 Speaker Audience Point of contention Common body of knowledge Deductive argument Debate on the argument (using deductive logic) Resolution

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well-known rules that open themselves to intersubjective debate before resolution. This is a strength for issues that have clear externalist agreement (such as natural science), though even here this is not always the case.9 It is often set out that the mode of presentation for philosophy aspires to the intersubjective mechanical certainty of mathematics.10 This selfidentification often puts the philosophy department in many world universities into the “aspiring science” departments, aka social science departments. I do not demur. This is traditional Western Philosophy.11 There is certainly plenty of space for this approach to the fundamental questions of human existence. But that is not all there is. Though the flow of information as per Table 3.1 is similar in fictive narrative philosophy, there are a few points that differ. For example, the common body of knowledge bifurcates in fictive narrative philosophy between what most readers accept about their daily lives and the presentation of the new world as presented in the fictive narrative. This is a new worldview that may be similar to the space most readers occupy, but it is not identical. In the words of Leibnitz, it is a possible world. This possible world may look like the world we all inhabit, but there are crucial differences. For example, in Invisible Man Ralph Ellison takes the world of New York City in the 1930s and presents it from a different point of view than many European-descent readers at the time would recognize. That’s the intent of the title.12 Another key feature of the method of philosophy is that it makes claims via logic (either deductive, inductive, or abductive).13 When one switches to inductive or abductive argument (or a close relative), the methodological presentation is a little different. For example, as mentioned earlier, deductive argument aspires to exactitude: a conclusion that is necessary (cannot be otherwise). Inductive logic takes facts or measurements about the physical world and uses the laws of statistical generalization to create second-level rules and then uses probability theory to subsume particulars into the covering authority of that rule on a 0–1 scale. The result is said to be cogent if it meets the pre-assigned range of accuracy required: How often can the null set (the conclusion you don’t want) be proven? For pharmaceuticals in the United States at the writing of this book, that level is 2.5%. That is a high standard. For other projects (on a pragmatic theory of truth) it may be higher or lower. The scoping of the task at hand dictates the margin for possible error. For our purposes, inductive logic will insert itself on the lower ranges of probability theory. The base line is 50%. Anything above that is more probable than not probable and therefore more likely than not to occur. If one had ten explanations, the one that received the highest probability even if it were not more than 50% would be the most likely given the universe presented. However, when the possibilities multiply and the probability of any one draws down, there is less confidence in the construction of the universe and the structure of the evaluation procedure.

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What is clear is that when we move out of the timeless world of deductive logic and into the world of people and events we are drawn to these other two forms of logic and the realm of plausible and possible (more on this in Chapter 5). So the short answer to the question of what makes an artifact philosophy is that when either the subject matter deals with the core areas of philosophy (Ethics, Logic, Epistemology, Metaphysics) using one of the methods of philosophical presentation: making claims via deductive argument from an externalist or internalist epistemological perspective or making claims via inductive or abductive argument (or a close relative) to support a point of contention, then the artifact is philosophy.

Why Do People Engage in Creating Philosophical Artifacts? This is an important follow-up question to the topics and method of presentation of philosophy set out previously. This section seeks to explore intent. If a person had a concern about some issue in the world in which she lives, why choose philosophy to explore it? This is a crucial question in our quest. At the outset, let us agree that, from the point of view of ancient Greek Philosophy, we have two different answers to this question. The first comes from Plato. He represents the majority position in the ancient Western World of assigning a comprehensive view of seeking after knowledge. Plato asserts in the Republic that when one seeks after one element of a class (the given metaphor is “lover of food”) that he will love all of it (in the metaphor “all food”).14 The referent is knowledge. Thus, when one declares to himself that he will be after one form of knowledge, such a commitment entails that he is after all knowledge. The intent to seek after knowledge, according to Plato, commits one to philosophy. But surely this is too broad. The Divided Line gives us some direction here. It is only the intent to know the top two tiers that drives one toward philosophy. This includes mediate knowledge (mathematics and discursive philosophy, coherence theory and externalist correspondence theory) as well as the top level, which includes immediate connection to Truth (internalist correspondence theory). Thus, on the Platonic model any artifact that makes a claim about Ethics, Logic, Epistemology, or Metaphysics from the methodological standpoint of the top two tiers of the Divided Line would count as philosophy. The reason that one pursues philosophy is twofold: intrinsic and extrinsic. On the intrinsic side, some people are drawn to explore further those questions that constitute the foundation of traditional philosophy. These are the people who break free of their bonds (connection to the established status quo as presented to them in the “Cave”). They are not content with such accounts. Their minds demand more. If they are successful, they travel into another realm in which they have attained their

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theory of truth (for Plato, internalist correspondence theory of truth). If this is the only dynamic, then there they will stay outside the Cave—content with their accomplishment and pleased in their soul (eudaimon). But for some who have encountered the truth and internalized it, there is a second, ethical extrinsic reaction: and that is sharing the vision with others in the Cave. There is no self-interested reason to do this. In fact, there are risks. Depending upon the audacity of the particular forms of truth that one wants to reveal, there may be risks to the philosopher by returning to the Cave and trying to spread the word so that others might free themselves from unreliable epistemological beliefs. The risks can be real. For example, some advocates of LGBTQ+ rights have been attacked and killed in the United States and around the world.15 The same thing happened to Gandhi in India when he proposed independence from the UK and the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., when he advocated for civil rights for African Americans in the United States. Going back to the Cave is dangerous. There are several ways to go back to the Cave: as a political figure or a social worker or as a fictive narrative philosopher, et al. What would it be like to go back as a fictive narrative philosopher? It would require that one write a play or narrative poem (in that era) that was pointed in the claim it was presenting and used a sort of logic to make its point (see Chapter 5). In the ancient world, Lysistrata might be an example of this. The use of comedy to make a case against war, which had been all too frequent, was striking. Other plays were one frame more indirect as they concealed some of their comments on current events within depictions of the cultural myths surrounding the Trojan War and its aftermath. So for Plato, people engage in creating philosophical artifacts just in case they are those expatriates of the Cave who have chosen to return to enlighten their fellow citizens. This would be true for standard direct discourse philosophy as it would for indirect discourse philosophy, which includes fictive narrative philosophy. Of course, we have to distinguish between what I have termed an “apologue,” i.e., a simple message dressed up in a story, and fictive narrative philosophy. In the former case, the story only exists to make a bald assertion. Now on the flow of communication model set out in Table 3.1, when the speaker puts forth the point of contention without engaging an argument (in this case a special sort of argument; see Chapter 5), then there is no philosophy involved. This is advertising, perhaps, on behalf of a company or a dictator. But because the claims are not contained within a supportive context that is presented via some accepted form of logical argument, it can never be fictive narrative philosophy.16 A second account comes from Aristotle. The Metaphysics begins with the proposition that all people by nature desire to know (eidenai). Philosophy concerns itself with the first principles that allow this to happen. This harkens back to my discussion of “philosophy of.” Philosophy considers

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a discipline and then reflects upon the generating principles along with the rules of method. This is set out in the opening line of his Nicomachean Ethics, “Every art (techne) and every method (methodos) along with every practical pursuit seems to aim at some good, hence it is well said that the good is that to which all things aim.” What is distinctive is that for Aristotle, the philosopher is not characterized as necessarily being driven to know everything all together. The subject matters are separated out into discrete units and philosophy has a place in each one. Thus, the philosopher might still be interested in knowing everything, but the difference is that the subjects are separated out by class: large (genos) and more specific (eidos). We are still about the core areas of philosophy but they are situated alongside one another rather than being vertical like the Divided Line. In fact, contra Plato, in the Categories, Aristotle does show us the relation predicable of. The higher levels of abstraction are actually less real than the empirical primary substance. This stands Plato on his head since for him the immaterial is more real than the material because it is more akin in substance to the forms. Aristotle’s approach gives him a rather practical orientation.17 So in his famous argument on which genre is higher, the epic or tragedy, Aristotle uses empirical devices and sensation to determine the question: the shortness of tragedy and its use of spectacle, music, and diction give it an advantage over epic. The sheer entertainment factor is higher.18 For Plato this approach would be dangerous. But Aristotle, though he agrees to the proposition that art instructs (see Chapter 1) he also has his ear to the ground of what is viewed and why. Clearly, Aristotle believes that the motivation to create a philosophical artifact is to cater to human nature’s desire to know (Metaphysics I.i) whether that be from the generalist’s perspective or a specialist (Parts of Animals I.i). Extending these motivations to art we would say that, in addition to having an insight on some important issue of living in the world (as seen in discrete, narrow insights), the fictive narrative philosopher must choose a means that will be popular to a general audience. In short, Plato would fancy the more intricate, esoteric, cerebral messages of Middlemarch and Buddenbrooks, while Aristotle might prefer Shakespeare’s A Midsummer’s Night Dream or the recent Broadway musical “Hamilton.”19 Each of these major thinkers had a different rationale for why an individual might be inclined to create philosophical artifacts— be they direct or indirect discourse.

How Are Philosophical Artifacts Received? As we consider what makes an artifact philosophy, one key question to ask is how philosophical artifacts are received by an audience. Most readers in the Western Tradition are acquainted with the direct discourse mode of creating a philosophical artifact. A large majority of the writers who

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work in the established Western canon of philosophy focus upon the direct discourse mode of presentation. Aristotle, Aquinas, Descartes, Spinoza, Leibnitz, Hobbes, Locke, Berkeley, Kant, Hume, Hegel, Marx, Mill, the Logical Empiricists, the Common Language Philosophers, the Philosophers of Biology reacting against the Logical Empiricists, and philosophers of language (including the ethical non-cognitivists) have exclusively chosen the direct discourse mode.20 So those students trained in the canon that consisted in the philosophers just listed would naturally think of an artifact that concentrated upon a straightforward deductive argument in its strategy of proving a claim to be what a philosophical artifact consists of. Because of this training, these budding philosophy critics know what they want to expect. They get a generally externalist account that is told through the tools of analysis and inference. The goal is to produce a narrow deductive argument that aspires to prove a claim against all comers. The aspiring deductive model is mathematics.21 In mathematics, most practitioners are conventionalists (anti-realists) and so adopt a coherence theory of truth. If one can set out a set of primitive propositions and at least one rule of inference, then one can prove subsequent theorems. Under the assumption of heritability, if there is almost no slippage in the immediate acceptance of these primitive operators, then there is almost no slippage in any theorem proven given the rules of the system. Thus, theorem #100,000 (way down the tree-shaped model of axiomatic inference)22 is just as certain as theorem #1. But they are only as certain as are the plausibility of the primitive posits and the generating rule(s) of inference. This means that even in the axiomatic model of deductive systems (the model for all formally presented and proven systems) there is still some wiggle room. The famous case in geometry is the rambunctious parallel postulate. One formulation of this sets out that on a plane (defined by three points) that any two of the points randomly chosen constitute a line (L1) and that through the third point there is one and only one line that can be constructed (L2) that is parallel to L1. Now this seems plausible to most who hold a particular vision of three-dimensional space. But as has been pointed out by others, the flat space of Euclid (and our own visual apparatus) may be flawed.23 This is due to the possible nature of space being positively curved (in which there are no parallel lines) or negatively curved (in which there are an indefinite number of lines that can be parallel). So even in the most conclusive examples of deductive logic (the axiomatic reconstruction of geometry) there is not absolute certainty. To search for such is akin to the goal of the questing beast in medieval Arthurian literature.24 Instead, what we have is a very high degree of certainty that is obtained by an internalist epistemological system that is largely, but not completely, a priori. Unlike externalist epistemology that may use certain

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agreed upon measuring devices and methods of calculation, the fuzzy factor with a priori internalist systems is possible-world scenarios. This is what chaffed at the parallel postulate and transferred it from apodictic to the almost certain.25 So now that it is agreed upon that even in direct discourse philosophy there is no absolute certainty, one can turn to other logical systems (as per Chapter 5) that do not claim absolute certainty. The question then becomes one of degree of certainty and not of kind. Certainly modern philosophy (from Descartes to Kant among the socalled rationalists) was seeking after certainty, but the rogue empiricists such as Berkeley and Hume raised questions about this neat formula. And so it has been ever since. In the twentieth century the Logical Empiricists resurrected the quest for absolute certainty. But the philosophers of biology fought back. There is still some disagreement among those who hold philosophy of physics as a paradigm (aspiring to a more certain mathematics) and those supporting a messier philosophy of biology who seek after some probability threshold as rendering a point of contention plausible. The application of this “philosophy of” example to the new paradigm is that fictive narrative literature (which has been held under the “philosophy of” umbrella so long) cannot properly be classified as aspiring to certainty. This is because narrative literature (like lived experience in the world) is messy. There is not even an aspiration to make it neat and simple—except in the simplest apologues (such as Aesop’s Fables). Once we can rid ourselves of our fetish for absolute certainty, then new avenues open up for travel—for example, indirect discourse. Now, some forms of indirect discourse are accepted under the traditional paradigm. These include versions of indirect proof in deductive logic. When one can set up a situation in which there are two and only two alternatives as solutions to a particular problem (e.g., A or B) and that these options are mutually exclusive, then to prove one wrong is to prove the other right (indirectly). Of course, this procedure depends upon two crucial elements for success: (a) there really are only two alternatives and (b) they are really mutually exclusive. If either condition fails, then so does the indirect proof.26 Another related proof that is also in the indirect proof category using deductive logic is the counterfactual. In the counterfactual, one uses some permutation on the square of opposition such as obversion or contraposition. Because these have exact truth functional values relative to the generating proposition, one can locate the truth value of the generating proposition by proving or disproving those propositions that have determinate relational truth value. So, for example, if “All S is P” is true, then so is “No S is non-P” (obversion). Likewise, if “All S is P” is true, then so is “All non-P is non-S” (contraposition). Much of the famous debate on the raven paradox in philosophy of science depended upon this sort of indirect argument. By contraposing the

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proposition α: “All ravens are black” to β: “All non-black things are nonravens,” one could confirm β by reference to the Washington Monument, Q.E.D. α is also confirmed because they are logically equivalent.27 This is obviously a controversial application of indirect deductive argument. These forms of indirect discourse are a part of the traditional paradigm and thus already in the canon. What needs to be assessed is what happens when we inch outside the traditional paradigm. As is the case in much of the book, the first step toward the new paradigm begins with Plato. In Euthyphro, Plato offers three arguments in canonical indirect discourse via reduction ad absurdum where one posits a proposition (the opposite of what Plato thinks is true, the antithesis) and then sees what follows from that. If a contradiction occurs, then the generating proposition is rejected and its complement is accepted, the thesis. 1. Antithesis: Hosion28 is what is pleasing to the gods—A[ssertion]/ 6d 10–11 2. Men who please the gods are hosion—1/7a 6 3. Hosion and anosion are contradictory opposites—F[act]/7a 7 4. The gods vary from each other and get angry with each other (stasiazo, variance, =>anger, ekthra)—F/7b 2 5. Variances about objective facts does not produce anger (hate of an object)—F/7b 6 6. Variances about dikaion/adikaion, kalon/aiskron, agathon/kakon cause anger—F/7d 7. The gods are only at variance about the sorts of issues in premise #6—F/7d 8 8. If there is no variance, there is no anger—A/7e 3–5 9. The gods each love the dikaion, kalon, and agathon—F/7e 7–8 10. The gods hate the opposite of what they love, i.e., the adikaion, aiskron, kakon—F/7e 7–8 11. The same things which some gods think are dikaion, kalon, agathon other gods think are adikaion, aiskron, and kakon—4–8/8a 1–2 12. The same things are hated and loved by the gods and cause those things to be alternately hated and loved respectively—9–11/8a 4–5 13. The same things are hosion and anosion—12, 1, 2/8a7–8 14. Thesis: The antithesis (hosion is what is pleasing to the gods) ought to be rejected.—13, 4/8a10–12 Now, this is a perfectly good indirect deductive argument. It shows that Euthyphro’s understanding of what hosion (piety or “upstandingness”) and anosion (impiety or “moral impropriety”) are is inconsistent and therefore illogical.29 It is a part of the traditional paradigm. But that’s not all that is there. The dramatic, narrative situation is also a big part of the communication flow. For example, it is important that the two individuals

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Socrates and Euthyphro meet on their way toward adjudication. They have two separate legal situations that confront them. Euthyphro is going to a dike (2 a3), while Socrates is going to a graphen (2a 6). A dike offense is one between individuals. This is why it is handled in the royal court by the ruler or a designated alternate. The parties involved are Euthyphro and his father. A graphen concerns a crime against the people of Athens. Thus, it is heard by land-holding males who vote by dropping white or black stones into respective piles. Now, Euthyphro is prosecuting his father for anosion (impiety). The basic unit of prosperous land-holding families was the family home and its adjacent lands (oikos). This land belonged to Euthyphro’s father but would, in the near future, transition to his son, Euthyphro. Now, it is an easy interpretation to see that Euthyphro would like that transition to occur earlier rather than later. This was then (and is even today) a rather messy process in households with substantial tangible assets. Thus, without hearing any facts in the case, it must be admitted that Euthyphro has a conflict of interest in the affair. The facts of the case are these: One of the slaves in the household killed another slave in the household. Euthyphro’s father was unsure about what to do about this state of affairs so he wanted to consult a puthia (a priestess charged with divination and judgment). So that the accused slave does not escape, Euthyphro’s father binds him and lays him into a ditch. Then Euthyphro’s father sent his query by messengers to the temple, which was some distance away. When they returned, the accused slave had perished (as a result perhaps of hypothermia or some other natural cause). The loss of two slaves could have been viewed by Euthyphro as a loss in estate value resulting from his own father’s actions. We may assume that Euthyphro would not like to lose two valuable assets in the estate he was about to inherit. Again, this would lead the careful reader to question Euthyphro’s real motives in the affair. Supposedly righteous/pious Euthyphro wants to bring charges against his father for his actions in the affair. Euthyphro pretends to a position that, if one had access to the Olympian gods, they would be very offended by his father’s conduct and so the ruler’s court should take this as a sign that his father had passed his prime and that he should be punished—by handing the oikos over to Euthyphro?30 Most contemporary readers of the time would have thought it rather tawdry to initiate a dike against one’s father. After all, parents in this culture (like most cultures on earth) are conferred a special respect. For example, Oedipus’s killing of the haughty train of people blocking the road constituted homicide but what made the act against Laius even more despicable (aischron) was it was patricide. Thus, ceteris paribus, the contemporary man in the street at the time would have thought it rather strange to bring a suit against one’s father. This is especially true since

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Euthyphro’s father acted in a prudent fashion given the standards of the day. It was bad luck when the slave died in the ditch, but this was part of a process that was the proper way to handle things (consult with the puthia; restrain the slave from running away). The fact that Euthyphro questioned his father’s behavior raises issues of Euthyphro’s self-interest rather than pure piety. Thus, Euthyphro is heading to a setting in which he might be committing a base action (prosecuting his father so that he could take control of the household, oikos— especially on such a flimsy case). After all, the father was acting according to protocol (consulting a puthia) but things got out of control. Based upon this account of the situational narrative, most contemporary readers of the time would be disposed to think badly about Euthyphro’s planned actions—and this before Socrates’ three arguments that demonstrate that Euthyphro does not know what hosian (piety) and anosion (impiety) are. Plato juxtaposes this portrait of flawed Euthyphro in his treatment of his father with Socrates’ own position in Athens. Socrates is (as we know from the Apology and Crito) a citizen who performed his obligations to the polis, including war service, with aplomb. But the new political dictatorship eschews public discussion (because that harkens back to the democracy that some thought caused the loss in the Peloponnesian War). Socrates talked (without pay) to young men of the land-holding families to instruct them by searching questions in order to make them more rational (aka better). However, such education of the wealthy young men of the city is not the sort of activity that dictators see as in their best interests. Therefore, the dictators of Athens trump up charges that are just as flimsy as Euthyphro’s—one of which is that Socrates is anosion (impious). In this way Athens, also, is seen as prosecuting its father. The cases are similar enough that the disgust a reader might feel at the former would be transferred to the latter as well. This narrative backdrop is critical to the total argument. The dramatic setting is not irrelevant to the argumentative message that Plato is setting out. It is important to go beyond the three indirect deductive arguments that show that hosion is not being pleasing to the gods. There is more to the point of contention than that, and it is only the narrative situation that can convey this on its own accord. It is my opinion that the dramatic action of the dialogue is meant to set up the Apology and Crito. By creating parallel dramatic structures (between the legal affairs of Euthyphro and Socrates concerning prosecuting one’s father—real and figuratively), Plato is able to create a secondary argument—a fictive narrative philosophy argument—that makes his presentation of Socrates’ innocence and sham conviction so powerful. So this is what I see going on in Euthyphro. We have two forms presented to us at the same time. There is the indirect deductive argument that has as its conclusion that hosion is not to be understood as “what is pleasing to the gods.” There is also the dramatic situation in which we

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are forced to think about the prosecution of fathers (Euthyphro’s father and Socrates, the father of Athens) who have acted in good faith within the reasonable bounds of social conduct. Because of this dramatic frame around a straightforward indirect deductive argument, the total effect is enhanced. The point of contention, i.e., Socrates should not be found guilty of corrupting the youth of Athens, is given a strong step forward. It situates the arguments of the Apology and the Crito and makes them more powerful, too. This is the first form of artifacts that we will call fictive narrative philosophy: Conventional Argument within a Supportive Fictive Structure (Fictive-Narrative Type 1). It is characterized by presenting a direct discourse deductive argument or an indirect discourse deductive argument within a relevant fictive narrative context. (Relevant here is meant to refer to situations in which the fictive narrative context interacts with the deductive argument—either supportive or counter to the force of the argument).31 A second sort of philosophical artifact has the following components as laid out in Table 3.2. The reader should compare the flow of information schemes in Tables 3.1 and 3.2. This gives one direction of the differences. They both begin with a speaker, audience, a point of contention or theme and the common body of knowledge. Now the common body of knowledge may be slightly different between these two transfers of information. In the first case (Table 3.1), we are thinking about scientific facts about the world and generally accepted ethical and cultural values within the target audience. This is because the espoused goal of direct discourse philosophy is on the model of science and mathematics.32 In the second case of fictive narrative philosophy, the common body of knowledge is narrowed significantly to the personal worldview of the author and his or her constructed shared community worldview. This vision of the constructed community worldview is (a) pleasing and plausible to some and (b) foreign and repugnant to others. When the (a) group greatly outweighs the (b) group, the work is thought to be a tremendous

Table 3.2 The Flow of Information in Fictive Narrative Philosophy Speaker Audience The theme (aka narrative point of contention) Common body of knowledge The fictive narrative presentation Narrative exploration of the theme (via constructional devices of narrative) Resolution

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success. When (a) is a minority (but a passionate minority), then the author becomes a cult figure. When (a) is a minority (but with a tepid following), the author becomes a benign figure of quaint interest. Next, in place of the deductive presentation (direct or indirect) is the fictive narrative presentation. In place of the deductive presentation is the special logic of fictive narrative philosophy (see Chapter 5). This form of persuasion has rules and guidelines toward achieving its goals. The endpoint (just as in direct and indirect deductive philosophy) is a presumption that the theme or point of contention has been proven (though the modality of the proof will be different). Thus, formally there are a number of similarities between direct and indirect discourse deductive philosophy and fictive narrative philosophy. The final question to examine in this chapter is the variety of expressions of fictive narrative philosophy. The formal distinctions I wish to emphasize can be summed up in Table 3.3. The first option in Table 3.3 has been discussed in the case of Plato’s Euthyphro. The second option first considers how overt the theme (aka point of contention) is. We can imagine a continuum that might look like that in Figure 3.1. At the X endpoint we have works that boldly set out the theme so that it is almost impossible not to get it. One can think of Aesop’s Fables as an example here. The constructional devices such as character, physical description, and plot are subverted to the telos of creating a simple situation in which a very clear choice is presented with a suggested answer. For example, in “The North Wind and the Sun” the problem is whether one can best succeed as a life strategy in trying to push someone toward their particular position, goal, or aim by force or by gentle coaxing. By setting up the situation the way that the author does, it is clear that “gentle coaxing” wins. The theme is very clear. However, to make it so very clear

Table 3.3 The Two Sorts of Fictive Narrative Philosophy Artifacts I. Conventional direct deductive discourse or indirect deductive discourse argument within a supportive fictive structure (fictive-narrative Type 1) II. Fictive narrative structure that uses the fictive narrative presentation to make the claim (fictive-narrative Type 2) (A) Continuum between apologue and hidden treasure (B) Short and intense vs. detailed and extended

X---------------------------------------------------Y-------------------------------------------Z (Apologue)

(Balanced Presentation)

(Hidden Treasure)

Figure 3.1 The Continuum Between Apologue and Hidden Treasure

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leads the philosopher-critic to suspect that the author is begging the question through the use of the thought experiment fallacy.33 This can be a problem with fictive narrative presentations that exist at the endpoint, X (Figure 3.1). Other candidates for endpoint X are what Charles Johnson calls industrial fiction.34 Industrial fiction is genre fiction that sticks to a formula in its presentation.35 For example, romance, crime, adventure, sci-fi, chick lit, gothic, etc., when set out according to a familiar pattern, fit this mold. They are apologues because their presentation of the genre follows a recipe. As such, they declare a hidden enthymeme: this is the way the world works. Only the names are changed in order to call it original. For example, in formulaic detective crime fiction, Mr. X kills Mr. Y because of some plausible reason (perhaps because Y is a despicable individual). Though because Mr. X lives in a country with an independent judiciary, it is not his place to enforce the law; therefore, Detective Z arrives at the scene and finds clues that the rest of the forensic team never thought about. But Z needs more so he hunts down X and after a game of cat and mouse, Z assembles all of the suspects and announces who is the real murderer. What makes this very satisfying to many is that it proclaims a just universe in which evil is discovered and punished. Just like Aesop’s Fables it affirms universal moral principles in accord with the Correspondence Theory of Truth. When we shut the covers of the book, we feel affirmed that god is in his heaven and all is right with the world. In the middle category, Y, from Figure 3.1 we have fictive works that readily reveal their themes, but they do so in an integrated fashion using the pre-constructional features of character, physical description, and plot to construct a non-formulaic presentation. An example of this category would be most of William Shakespeare’s plays, Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary, most of the work of Jane Austen, Sinclair Lewis’s Main Street and so on. The combination of an original presentation of the expectations of the genre along with the relative ease of ascertaining what the fictive theme is all about makes the work readily accessible to a wide audience. For most readers this is where fictive narrative presentation should be situated. The right endpoint is occupied by fictive presentations that are rather coy about what they are about. This can be for various reasons—such as difficult linguistic expression, discontinuous plot technique, complex meta-plot presentations, unreliable narrators, magical interludes, conflicting presentation of physical details and motifs, and so on. Examples of this spot on the continuum include Laurence Sterne’s Tristram Shandy, Thomas Hardy’s The Well-Beloved, James Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake, Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow, Yann Martel’s The Life of Pi, David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest, et al. These books seek out the esoteric through puzzles and games. They stretch and play with the preconstructional devices so that they perform new functions. But they are

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also harder to follow by most readers who prefer the middle path to the Times Crossword when confronting a novel. Of course, there are many novels and short narratives that are between these three benchmarks. Eric Segal’s Love Story and Robert James Waller’s The Bridges of Madison County are slightly to the right of the X endpoint. Midway between X and Y would be the novels of Fanny Burney, Mrs. Gaskell, Charles Dickens, Willkie Collins, John Steinbeck, Ernest Hemmingway’s The Old Man and the Sea, Richard Wright’s Black Boy, J.D. Sallinger’s Catcher in the Rye, and Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. This may be the most popular area of the continuum. The novels demand less reflection than the Y point and, because they often display plot and character devices that are more affectively sensational, they garner a larger audience as a result. Shakespeare’s The Tempest is often taken to be a shade to the right of the midpoint, as is Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde (as opposed to the midpoint Canterbury Tales) and Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man and Charles Johnson’s Middle Passage are also to the right of center point, Y. Vis-à-vis becoming philosophy, fictive narrative can exist on any point of the continuum set out in Figure 3.1. However, there is a suitability between the narrative theme (claim) being made and its logical support (see Chapter 5). A simple theme might have a simple expression and be well suited at the X endpoint. A very complex theme/claim might require expression at the Z endpoint. All else will be in-between. This may have some relation to the intended audience. If one’s audiences are puzzle lovers, then Z looks appealing. Puzzle lovers tend to be fewer than people who aspire to a highly nuanced, complicated personal worldview. Most readers (as judged by total book sales) prefer novels near the X endpoint. The next most popular destination are those others who migrate toward Y (either a little to the left or right). At Y an important compromise is achieved: wide-spread comprehensibility along with a good share of intellectual complexity. Most of the great fictive narrative writers in history reside around here in this grand balance. Moving on, there is the categorization of whether the work is short and intense or detailed and extended (see Table 3.3). Just as was the case in the continuum, there is no perfect place to be. Fictive narrative philosophy can exist as either short and intense or as detailed and extended. What one gets when one is short and intense is a quick journey. There is much to be said for the quick journey. It takes less time to read and therefore there is an initial lower commitment on the part of the audience. If one were given the choice of picking up Seize the Day, by Saul Bellow (a novella under 50,000 words) or War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy (a 350,000 word novel), many would choose the former because of the lower initial time commitment. Both works are significant and act as philosophy. What one gets in the shorter work is a cleaner, clearer statement of a simpler theme. The resultant impact upon the reader can therefore be

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more forceful. Also, because it is shorter, one can scour it more to get a closer read, which can result in more readers going into depth. However, in the epic-length work, there is time to go into significantly more detail and thereby reveal more facets about a claim and why it should be adopted despite objectors who might think otherwise. There are certainly advocates for both positions. Aristotle, for example, seems to prefer the former.36 I am an admirer of both and have produced work in both of these modes.

Conclusion This chapter has focused upon the topics and methods of presentation of fictive narrative philosophy under the new paradigm. This began with an examination of the flow of information in the traditional direct discourse and compared this with the dynamics of indirect discourse of fictive narrative philosophy. They are different, of course, but they do possess some common features. Then we moved to the audience and the reception of philosophical artifacts through a structural examination of what they aspire to. This led to an examination of the topography of fictive narrative philosophy. We are now ready to listen to the practitioners of fictive narrative philosophy and what they thought they were doing. This will be the setup for an examination of the sort of logic employed and how this is intended to support narrative themes (claims).

Notes 1. I view “sincerity” to be that activity that one engages in to her highest abilities. I view “authenticity” to be framing her sincere actions within a reliable set of rules. See Boylan (2004): 26–28, 43–45. 2. Some people have reacted to Hume’s attack on inductive reasoning by saying that Hume asks for too much: necessity where there is none. Others, who cannot drop their love of apodictic reasoning, try to morph inductive logic into a deductive account with a side condition. One such approach comes from Karl Popper, Conjectures and Refutations, 2nd ed. (London: Routledge, 2002). In this approach one begins with a conjecture, C. Then one deduces a test implication of C. If C is true and test T is performed, then experimental results, R, will obtain. If R occurs to confirm C, then it is rational to believe C. C is not proven, but made plausible. However if ~R, then it is ~C can be known. The counterfactual is stronger than the confirmation. This is one step back from Hume. This is a controversial finding that not all working on induction agree with. 3. I have engaged in this fray in the ancient philosophy of science via articles and books. My most recent foray into this realm is Michael Boylan, The Origin of Ancient Science: Blood—a Philosophical Inquiry (London: Routledge, 2015).

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4. An example of the input of ethics is “Ethical Limitations on Scientific Research” in Simonna Giordano, John Coggon, and Marco Cappato, ed. Scientific Freedom (London: Bloomsbury, 2012): 149–161, cf. Michael Boylan and Kevin Brown, Genetic Engineering: Science and Ethics on the New Frontier (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2002). 5. See I. Bernard Cohen, Anne Whitman, and Julia Budenz, translators, The Principal: The Authoritative Translation and Guide: Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy (Oakland, CA: University of California Press, 2016 [1687]). 6. The duties follow from the duty to rescue as set out in the Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals, 421, 429. 7. Note that “fact” is not a normative term of endorsing. It is rather a depiction of the information flow in which certain propositions about the world seem uncontroversial from the vantage point of the speaker and audience. Obviously, other audiences might see things differently. In that case a “fact” would revert to an “assertion” relative to the new audience. The third sort of justification is the formal inference. Inference refers to the situation in which the acceptance of one or more previous premises logically requires the audience to accept another premise. The basis of this is the deductive wiring of our brains. So, for example, if one were to accept that “All men are mortal” and accept “Socrates is a man,” then it would be logically necessary to accept “Socrates is mortal.” Readers of this book will note that I have set out several arguments from philosophers using this form. 8. I have set out the rules and justifications for these in more detail in my book Critical Inquiry: The Process of Argument (Boulder, CO: Westview, 2010). 9. Of course, not all externalist arguments based upon science lend themselves to concord. The very history of science shows that what is concord in one era can be an egregious error in another. Even within the same era social/political concerns can turn what seems among scientists to be “fact” to “assertion” among some of the general public, e.g., climate change—see Andrew Hoffman, How Culture Shapes the Climate Change Debate (Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press, 2015). 10. One famous example of this is Alfred North Whitehead and Bertrand Russell, Principia Mathematica, in three volumes (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1910, 1912, 1913). 11. I have written that this is not the case in Eastern Philosophy. See my depiction of human rights from the history of Chinese Philosophy in Boylan (2014): ch. 3. 12. This would also apply to the realm of magical realism as set out in Latin American fiction. For an example of this see Gabriel Garcia Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude (New York, NY: Harper Perennial Classics, rpt. 2006 [1970]). 13. “Abductive” logic follows from the writings of Charles Sanders Pierce and can be thought of as an argument to the best explanation available (within the context of a pragmatic theory of truth). See Iddo Tavory and Stefan Timmermans, Abductive Analysis: Theorizing Qualitative Research (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2014). 14. 1. When someone loves a class (eidos), he loves all its members and not just some—F (474c, cf. 376b)—c.f. also 475b4, 376b. 2. Wisdom is a proper class—A (475b) 3. The lover of wisdom loves all wisdom and excludes none—1, 2 (475b) cf. 490b, 521b, 437e, 376b

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The Structure of the New Paradigm 4. To love something is not simply to “sample” it but to hunger and thirst passionately after it—F (475c) 5. [When one loves something passionately there is no room for following ways that compete with or contradict that way]—A 6. Some appear to love wisdom yet are swayed into the realm of sensation (spectacle and beautiful objects—art) and away from truth itself—F (474d-e) 7. Those who are swayed into the realm of sensation are not true philosophers—4–6 (476b) 8. Beautiful objects, etc., are meant for the ultimate contemplation of Beauty, itself—A (476b) 9. Those who think that they see Beauty when they are only looking at beautiful objects are like people asleep (they merely opine), while those who see Beauty itself are like those who are awake (they have knowledge)—A (476c-477b) 10. Knowledge is revealed via the class of things about which there can be knowledge, viz., the forms—A (477c) 11. Recognition of the class of things about which there can be knowledge may come about if one hungers and thirsts after it as a class—A (477c-d) 12. [The philosopher obtains knowledge when he is able to recognize the objects of knowledge itself and not mere reflections or opinion only]—8–11 13. Those who merely seek the reflections of the forms and not the forms themselves are not philosophers but doxophilists—3, 7, 11, 12 (479e)

15. For an example of this see Boylan (2014): ch. 10. 16. For examples of fictive narrative philosophy that follow these rules, see Chapter 9. 17. Poetics: Chapter 26—Epic and Tragedy Compared 1462b 1. There are two modes to judge: construction devices and achieving a purpose—A 2. Spectacle (music and diction) are construction devices—A 3. S, M, and D are superior in tragedy—F 4. Construction devices are superior in tragedy—1–3 5. Plot, characters, and thought are purpose devices—A 6. P, C, and T are better when compact and not diffuse—A 7. A tragedy is more compact and less diffuse than an epic—F 8. A tragedy employs purpose devices better than an epic—5–7 9. Tragedy is superior to epic—1, 4, 8 18. Put in contemporary terms, most of the television shows or internet events that get the highest number of viewers seem to possess more of this entertainment factor as opposed to more intellectually inclined products such as “Masterpiece Theater” or “The History Channel” or “Nature.” It is understandable why Aristotle with his empirical bent might go in this direction, but it also goes against his argument about using theoria to obtain Eudaimonia in Book X of the Nicomachean Ethics. 19. This would especially be the case if my conjecture about Aristotle’s sensitivity about being an “outsider” living in Athens is correct; see Michael Boylan, “Aristotle the Outsider” in Michael Boylan and Charles Johnson

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20. 21.

22.

23. 24.

25.

26. 27.

28. 29. 30. 31.

32. 33.

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Philosophy: An Innovative Introduction—Fictive Narrative, Primary Texts and Responsive Writing (Boulder, CO: Westview, 2010 [now available from Routledge): 61–72 [fictive narrative philosophy short story]. This list is intended to be exemplary and not exhaustive. This is not to suggest the logicist thesis. For an exploration of this tangent see Carnap’s essay in Paul Benacerraf and Hilary Putnam, eds. Philosophy of Mathematics: Selected Readings (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984): ch. 1. The goal is set out by David Hilbert, Grundlagen der Geometrie, Bulletin des sciences mathématiques, 2nd series, 26 (rpt. With revisions Stuttgart: Teubner, 1968 [1902]): 249–272. This follows on the model of Euclid, Die Elemente, tr. C. Thaer (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche buchges, 1969). For a clear introduction to the issues of non-Euclidean geometry see Stefan Kulczycki, Non-Euclidean Geometry (New York, NY: Dover, 2008). The questing beast is from the Arthurian legend as an example of an extreme aspirational goal in life. Malory, Thomas, The Works of Sir Thomas Malory. Eugèe Vinaver and Rev. P.J. C. Field, ed. 3 vol, 3rd ed. (Oxford: Charendon Press, 1999): V. 145–147. This is similar to the problem for Kantian scholars of the First Critique who speculate upon whether problems such as the parallel postulate cause a difficulty in the Transcendental Aesthetic. Kant (who dearly aspired for the apodictic) held a traditional Euclidean notion of space. For a discussion see E.J. Craig, “Phenomenal Geometry” British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 20 (1969): 121–130 and Michael Friedman, “Kantian Themes in Contemporary Philosophy I” Aristotelian Society Supplement 72 (1998): 111–129. Plato was a frequent advocate of one version of this in his reduction ad absurdum method. This example comes from Carl Hempel, “A Purely Syntactical Definition of Confirmation,” Journal of Symbolic Logic 8 (1943): 122–143, and “Studies in the Logic of Confirmation” reprinted with a postscript in Aspects of Scientific Explanation (New York, NY: The Free Press, 1965). A rich literature developed around this thought experiment that is noted in Clark Glymour, “Relevant Evidence” Journal of Philosophy 72 (1975): 403–426. “Hosion” (ὁσιον) refers to being “holy,” or more accurately, “an upstanding citizen.” There are two additional arguments in the dialogue that reach the same result, i.e., Euthyphro does not know what is piety and impiety. This penalty, of course, is pure speculation. The dialogue does not set this out. But given the other interpretations, it is a reasonable guess. An example of the “counter” environmental context is the Sylvia Plath poem “Daddy,” which is a viscous attack against what she takes to be a tyrannical father (which might also be passed on to her husband) told in a poetic paean form that mimics meters from happy children’s poetry. Plath wrote the poem shortly before she committed suicide. In many universities that teach philosophy in the Western World, philosophy is put in the same division as the social sciences, which see themselves as getting as close to the natural sciences as possible in rigor and exactitude. I have coined the term thought experiment fallacy in my book The Good, The True, and The Beautiful (London: Bloomsbury, 2009). The idea here is that whenever one creates a fictive situation in which the laws of nature or the setting of the situation are skewed so as to create one and only one answer, then the reader ought to reject that sort of presentation.

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34. Charles Johnson, The Way of the Writer (New York, NY: Scribner, 2016). 35. I want to make it clear that I do not hold that everything written in these genres is industrial fiction. There are certain authors who transcend the formulaic nature of the genre; for example, it is my opinion that P.D. James and Tanya French transcend the detective crime genre. Their fiction is not industrial. 36. See note #17 for the argument.

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Coleridge and Shelley: The Artist’s Soul Leading Us to Truth Samuel Taylor Coleridge was associated with the Romantic Lake Poets at the beginning of the nineteenth century. The romantic poets of this school were interested (like Longinus) in emphasizing the genius of the poet as the cornerstone of understanding and evaluating a work of art. “Fancy” and “imagination” are terms most associated with Coleridge. Under this schema, “fancy” is thought to be mere novelty. For many, this is enough for pleasure. But if one were to use novelty so that it resonated more deeply with thought, then “fancy” transcends to imagination. These terms were bandied about at the end of the eighteenth century such that Dr. Samuel Johnson in his Dictionary sets out “fancy” to be a sub-category of imagination. Coleridge separates the terms—thus breaking with standard usage. For Coleridge to make this sort of radical separation is to make a break with one of England’s key critics (Dr. Johnson). Fancy operates via the association of fixities and definites in an association that is merely pleasing. This source of pleasure comes from the emancipation from time and space. Imagination is rather more ambitious. There are two sorts of imagination: •



Primary imagination. The living power of God in the eternal act of creation. It is also to be found within the soul of each person. This is not too far away from the goals and activity of philosophy. Thus, this phase is most resonant to the position taken in this book. Secondary imagination. This echoes primary imagination and works with the will and understanding to create a well-wrought whole. This is an application phase that is consistent with the fourth stage of the Personal Worldview Imperative.1

Coleridge thought that the artist was engaged in a quasi-divine act that could bring both the artist and his audience closer to God. This is because artistic activity mirrors that of Divine creation. Creative activity

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is necessary for people to make sense of their lives (an important exercise). This is brought forth in his argument from the Biographia Literaria.2 Argument 4.1: How Poets Help Humankind 1. The poet (through secondary imagination) brings the soul of man into activity—F 2. The activity of secondary imagination reconciles the disparate puzzles of human existence—A 3. [The purpose of all humans is to reconcile the disparate puzzles of human existence]—A 4. The poet helps humanity to fulfill its purpose—2, 3 5. [To help any agent fulfill his purpose is to make that agent good and to cause him to flourish]—A (cf. Aristotle’s Poetics and Ethics) 6. Poets and their poetry improve humankind and are instrumental to their flourishing—1, 4, 5 In Argument 4.1, Coleridge posits that through the activity of secondary imagination the artist stimulates people in a positive way (cf. Plato). This stimulation allows them better to be authentic people in the world. But what might the mechanics of this be? I would suggest something like the personal worldview examination that is demanded by the Personal Worldview Imperative.3 As was suggested earlier, it is requisite for people to live satisfactory lives that they periodically examine their own worldview: a compilation of their values and the facts they hold to be correct (the good, beautiful, and the true). Thus, the fictive presentation affects the audience (an entry to my approach), but the way it does it is explained by philosophers. This leaves things ambiguous with the traditional paradigm: (a) does the fictive artifact require the practicing philosopher to clothe her in philosophy? Or (b) does the work, itself, speak philosophically so that when it is read and understood it does so on its own terms without needing a dramatic “dresser”? There is at least a hint of the latter in these writers. What such displays of the secondary imagination do is to put before the audience various possibilities: narrative, visual, auditory in order to make the audience reconsider their present arrangement of personal worldview. The reconsideration is undergone on the basis of the artistic standpoint that stimulated this examination. Thus, the artist not only gets people to undergo personal worldview renewal, but also dictates the direction from which these questions will be asked. If periodic personal worldview examination is essential to leading a worthwhile life, and if the artist is instrumental in providing the context and energy for this,

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then the artist is providing an essential social service in the presentation of the beautiful: stimulating the general reconsideration of the true and the good in the lives of the audience. This means that art provides an essential social function and is no mere frivolous extravagance. And the art, by itself, is the agent of change via the argument it presents (more on this in Chapter 5). A contemporary of Coleridge, Percy Bysshe Shelley, further explores the social role of the artist. Shelly was primarily a poet though, like all the romantic English poets, he did some non-fiction writing as well.4 In his essay, “A Defense of Poetry” (1821), Shelley suggests a mechanism that allows people to undergo positive worldview revision. One of the lynchpins of Shelley’s critical tools is the process that mirrors Keats’s doctrine of negative capability.5 In negative capability a person is enabled by the artist to locate himself in a different place (alternate worldview). Thus, if I read a poem about the English Civil War, I can (via the artistic power of the maker) put myself into the tumultuous times of seventeenth-century England between the royalists and the round heads. The intrigue and challenge that they faced become my own. I am there. I am living in the skin of the protagonist and facing his or her situation. It doesn’t matter if I cross time, space, class, race, or gender. Everything is possible within the realm of negative capability. It is a definable outcome of the artistic experience that enables worldview analysis and growth. This process of projecting oneself forward into worldview of the fictive narrative requires a particular skill, empathy.6 Empathy is an important skill for living in the world. It allows one to see the multiplicity of perspectives that others have, and it is an essential component to being an authentic member of any community according to my Shared Community Worldview Imperative.7 Literature can help one improve this life skill—just as deductive logic can help one view the possibility of a truth in a possible world. This is just one more way that literature can act as philosophy. Many people living around 1800 were questioning whether poetry was still relevant to the modern person. Wasn’t poetry a relic of the Greeks, Romans, and those of a bygone age? In the twenty-first century I have heard people asking the same question. But Shelley demurred. He believed that poetry combines wisdom and delight that kindles the imagination sympathetically to locate us in the place of another. This is because poetry is so much at the pulse of society that it not only diagnoses community worldview health, but it also is there potentially to break down arbitrary differences. The mechanics of this are based in a principle of disinterest (like Kant). Poetry (unlike science and business) is only concerned with discovering truth. It is not about practical outcomes (science=> technology) nor about advantage (business). More on how this happens is in the outline of one of his key arguments.

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Argument 4.2: Poetry as Social Salvation 1. Poetry turns all things to loveliness (exalts existing beauty and adds beauty to the deformed)—A 2. [Interacting with Beauty creates in the observer a clear mind]—A 3. [A Clear mind sees Truth]—A 4. Poetry enables people to see Truth—1–3 5. All things are as they are perceived to be—A (cf. Berkeley and Protagoras) 6. The poet alters perceptions favorably toward beauty—1 7. The poet enables people to see Beauty—5–6 8. [Those who interact with the True and the Beautiful will also see the Good]—A 9. The poet makes people see the Good—4, 7 10. [To know the Good is to do the Good]—A (cf. Plato) 11. The poet makes people better—9, 10 12. The poet is largely unacknowledged in his societal role—A 13. The poet is the unacknowledged benefactor of society—4, 7, 11, 12 In Argument 4.2, Shelley contends that for ordinary people to see truth, they need a clear mind. In premise #3 he declares that art (poetry) enables the audience to see with clarity what they may have lost in their day-to-day existence. This clarity is an outcome of interacting with beauty. Thus, beauty is philosophically therapeutic (cf. Aristotle’s katharsis). It helps the patient reexamine life and the personal worldview that gives it meaning. By seeing the beautiful and the true, the audience will also see the good. From this portal, everything is possible. Because the facilitator of this whole process is the artist, it is she who we must thank for making specific individuals better, but also for reforming society as a whole. When Zola wrote J’accuse,8 he had a specific social message in mind (as per the novels: The Jungle or Invisible Man, Night, or Oxherding Tale).9 One need not stop there. “Guernica” (a painting); “Blowin’ in the Wind” (a popular song); “Жар-птица,” or “The Firebird” (a classical piece of music); and “The China Syndrome” (a movie about a fictional nuclear plant disaster), all had the same intent: comment upon the current world situation with an aim at changing things. There is something about art’s power that enables us to begin anew in our personal worldview explorations as we quest for the truth and the good in our lives. Though philosophy today is largely about direct deductive discourse, this has not always been the case.10 The most famous practitioner of narrative as a vehicle for philosophical discourse is Plato. In his early dialogues (as mentioned earlier) there is often sprightly fictive action (generally with some historical underpinnings) that conscripts the audience

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to enter the dramatic scene wherein the argument is engaged. Audiences connect to this method of presenting philosophy. Students connect to this. Most philosophy teachers have used early and middle Platonic dialogues (such as Euthyphro, Apology, Crito, Meno, Protagoras, Gorgias, and The Republic) to present issues in ethics, epistemology, and metaphysics to introductory students. One of the reasons for this is that students are more likely to get the point of Plato’s presentation than they would of Aristotle’s or Kant’s (who don’t employ narrative).11 Why is this? It has been my contention that the acceptance of normative theories requires the introduction of empirical content12 to situate the claims into a possible world context in order for the agent to make an authentic decision.13 This is because authentic decisions are made within the context of one’s personal worldview.14 The personal worldview contains one’s understanding of all legitimate facts and values about the world. These facts and values are generally understood by the agent in some mental form that is quite empirically suggestive. For example, if one held that euthanasia is permissible (as an example of a value), this might be connected to her experience of the death of her debilitated mother whose intense pain in hospice went on for twice the estimated time (with no perceivable quality of life). Whenever she thinks about euthanasia, it is always with her mother in the backdrop. The personal worldview is holistic. It combines our scientific understanding of the world along with our values about beauty, ethics, and religion. Most of us aren’t as compartmentalized as Aristotle so that when we are confronted with claims that aspire to be about our experience in the world, we try to fashion our understanding of the claim and our responses to it from a characterization of the empirical manifold as dictated by our personal worldview. (As opposed to Aristotle who, along with Kant, seemed to be able to pigeon-hole the inputs into a segregated, non-holistic table of categories—at least that is what they profess.) What happens here cognitively is that various aspects of our consciousness are stimulated in a synergistic manner. The message presented is very enthymematic. Lots of material is left out precisely because this is the modus operandi of indirect discourse (the presentation mode of narrativebased philosophy). It is up to the audience (each individually) to fill in the gaps. This requirement creates the necessity of active audience participation since, in a very real way; they are part of the reconstruction process. The manner of the reconstruction is a dialogue between the text and the personal worldview of the reader. However, it is not the case that any reconstruction will do. Narrative-based philosophy makes specific claims (as opposed to fashioning a general display that may be interpreted in contradictory manners by various philosopher-critics). These narrative-based claims require readers actively not only to reconstruct the claims within the narrative context of the presentation but also within the real-life experience of the reader. A similar process occurs when straight deductive

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presentations are made. The difference is that the straight deductive-based presentation may have less variance in reader reconstruction (because of its simpler structure) than the narrative-based presentation, but it will also have less suggestive application. This is because deductive-based philosophy consciously limits itself to straightforward propositions and inferences. On the other hand, narrative-based philosophy creates a directed blueprint for the exploration of a problem from a particular point of view (the narrative claim). The empirically suggestive narrative-philosophy presentation is more gripping than the more simple architecture of deductive philosophy because it connects to the personal worldview in more ways than a simple abstract rational presentation. (The more touchpoints to the personal worldview, the more real the presentation seems to the agent. The real in this context is that which is easier to project into one’s personal worldview and thus to imagine in all of its potential global significance. The act of worldview projection allows the reader to be able more completely to imagine the claims presented in a situated context.)15 Now, it is true that most of us (academic philosophers) are just fine with abstract deductive presentations that are largely devoid of empirical content. But it is my conjecture that the reason for this is that we provide the empirically suggestive content to ourselves as part of the process of our understanding a theory. We do it so very quickly and efficiently that we may not even be aware that we are doing it. If this process of understanding novel normative theories is correct, then empirical suggestiveness is necessary for all of us. Either we provide it ourselves or the author does it for us. If we cannot provide this empirical content and if the author hasn’t done it for us, then we will not be able to present the theory to our personal worldview for proper evaluation. I became convinced of the necessity of empirically suggestive content for understanding philosophical claims early in my teaching career when my students were unable to answer the question I posed to them about whether John Rawls (from his presentation in A Theory of Justice)16 would support the “trickle-down” economic policy of Ronald Regan (then a contemporary example). The students, for the most part, were at a loss. They could do very well when I questioned them within the theory. But they were not so good at providing empirical content to address a novel normative situation. Now, some readers might say that I just had poor students. This might be true. But why were they “poor”? I would suggest that it was because they could not supply the empirical content that would allow them to project Rawls’s theory into their personal worldview. Plato is very good here because his narrative accounts (especially when enhanced by a knowledgeable instructor) captivate the reader with an empirically suggestive presentation. They can make all sorts of applications based upon the author’s direct presentation of empirical content.

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When Socrates dies after having all sorts of opportunities to escape, his argument in the Crito resonates to readers about a strong obligation to obey an implicit contract with the state. Or when Euthyphro or Thrasymachus becomes impatient with Socrates’ dogged arguments, the dramatic irony of each situation gives the argument more power. To fully get the point, one must engage not only in argument reconstruction but also literary criticism.17 The combination is stronger than a mere direct deductive presentation. But what exactly happens when Plato presents one of his dialogues? Some would say that in Plato, it is the direct deductive argument that goes on between Socrates and his foil (that can easily be reconstructed into formal or informal notation). This direct deductive argument is all the philosophy that is taking place. Everything else is merely noise or pretty trappings. But it isn’t philosophy. These might be what Robert Gooding-Williams calls the Carnap sympathizers.18 These individuals are especially suspicious of any philosophical presentation that isn’t directly related to Humean matters of fact (empirical science) and relations of ideas (mathematics used to express claims in empirical science). These Carnap sympathizers believe as sincerely in the absolute separation of empirical statements and theory statements as they do between deductive-based philosophy and narrative-based philosophy. For the Carnap sympathizers deductive-based philosophy is grounded in hard-nosed empirical truth. The role of narrative-based presentations is merely to entertain: it is frivolous. This chapter seeks its solution from Plato. Plato presents a powerful reflection on this sort of argument as he draws attention to his own self-reflective thoughts on big questions in philosophy at the beginning of the Timaeus.19 It might be that on some of the most central issues of philosophy (especially if one grants a legitimate role to traditional metaphysics contra Carnap), that there are gaps in what we can argue. I have elsewhere described this gap as the “rationality incompleteness conjecture.” The rationality incompleteness conjecture calls into question the sort of certainty that William Kingdom Clifford terms the “common test of knowledge” (empirical science only) that can exhaustively explain all there is.20 If Clifford is correct, then so are the Carnap sympathizers. The rationality incompleteness conjecture claims that it isn’t as simple as that.21 Whether we are monist-materialists or dualists (or some hybrid), the rationality incompleteness conjecture suggests that some of the topography of truth is often hidden from direct physical inspection. For those intrepid souls who agree with me, there is a necessity for a mode of expression that is suggestive of that hidden territory. Narrative-based philosophy is the best candidate to put these sorts of conjectures forward. This is also consistent with Plato’s argument in the Timaeus in which he sets out that the best we can obtain in exploring cosmology is a likely story.22 Though there is specificity in Plato’s argument, one can extend the

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point generally to the fact that humans have only limited exposure to the forms so that we are forced to fill in the rest. So how do we fill things in? Plato chose narrative-based philosophy, and I think he’s right.

Presenting Narrative-Based Philosophy Some narrative philosophers present a complicated narrative structure within the conceit of examining a short fictive account. Søren Kierkegaard takes the biblical story of Abraham being called on by God to sacrifice his son, Isaac. One can read Kierkegaard’s account and come up with the following deductive reconstruction:23 Argument 4.3: Kierkegaard: Narrative on Religious Faith vs. Ethics 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11.

Abraham was willing to kill his son, Isaac—F [Killing one’s son is murder]—F [Murder is beyond the ethical]—F Abraham was willing to go beyond the ethical—1–3 Offering one’s child to the Lord means attaching your child to God—A Attaching your child to anything is weaning the child—A Weaning the child is a sad experience—F Offering Isaac to God is a sad experience for Abraham—5–7 If Abraham did not act as a monster, Isaac would not have been weaned nor gone to the Lord—A [As a man of faith, Abraham had to do what was necessary to deliver his only child to God]—A [Doing what is sad and acting the part of the monster alienates the self from others]—F

12. The man of faith alienates his friends and loved ones in his quest beyond the ethical—4, 8, 9, 10, 11 Though this may be a justified reconstruction of one of the many interpretative arguments that Kierkegaard gives, it is by no means complete. The reason for this is that narrative is so suggestive in empirical content that it beckons the reader to delve further. The deductive claims are external for all to see and reconstruct.24 But there is more. Thus, the reader enters into the worldview of the perceived narrator (not Kierkegaard) to complete the task that is only just suggested—in this case a version of the Abraham-Isaac story. Because the reader is enlisted as a partner in the enterprise, she feels empowered to add what she feels is necessary to give the scene its requisite wholeness. This more empirically suggestive version bubbles over with directed complexity. Its nuanced character reminds the

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reader of the rich variety of lived experience. In this way it rises to some sort of level of realistic imitation. And as critics throughout history have suggested, imitation is a principal draw in aesthetics.25 Another practitioner of the use of short narrative to stimulate a philosophical discussion is Friedrich Nietzsche. In his work, The Joyful Wisdom, he relates a short original narrative of a town that declares God is dead. The stranger who enters the town (the reader) is confounded by this situation and forced to make some sense of it. One deductive reconstruction of the argument is as follows:26 Argument 4.4: Nietzsche—Grounding Morality Upon Nobility of Character 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

The modern prophet must declare that God is dead—A [God had provided the raison d’être of morality]—A The modern prophet must declare a new grounding of morality—1, 2 There are two sources for a new morality: (a) from the noble masters, or (b) from the base slaves—A The masters stand for noble virtues: gratitude, friendship, love of freedom, instinct for happiness, and a passion for love—A The virtues of the masters are exalted and good—A We should accept the masters’ morality—5, 6 Slave morality is the opposite of the masters’ virtue; it is based upon crass utility—A [Crass utility is bad]—A Slave morality should be rejected—8, 9

11. With the death of God, the new morality should be modeled after the noble master morality as opposed to the base slave morality—3, 4, 7, 10 What makes Nietzsche’s reconstruction different from Kierkegaard’s is that in Nietzsche’s case he created the fable. Kierkegaard made use of a text well entrenched in the canon of Western consciousness. The presenter was a narrator who was, himself, a character in the presentation. Because of this, the cornerstone of truth in Kierkegaard’s case was the text he chose. The text was secure and now only the interpretation by his separate narrator was novel. In Nietzsche’s case, the text and the interpretations were novel. There is thus no cornerstone of accepted canonical truth that readers will accept almost automatically. In its place, Nietzsche offers a bizarre tale that stands on its own as a small piece of literature. Its internal beauty confers its place of acceptance. In cases in which the philosopher and the fictive presenter are the same, there is a double burden. If the fictive piece is not compelling, the comments on the same will dissolve into the morning

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mist. It will never be examined except by an inspired few. In Nietzsche’s case the narrator is the author. This adds a direct dimension to an otherwise indirect process. When the fictive author and the philosopher are combined (Plato and Nietzsche),27 then we can assume that there is some sort of complicated interaction between: (a) the direct deductive presentation of an argument in the simplified realm of formal or informal logic, and (b) the indirect and empirically more suggestive/complicated presentation in an imitation of experience that would resonate within the personal worldview of each member of the audience. Some of this has to do with the content that the author wishes to express to his audience. Nietzsche and Plato have rather complex messages (cf. “Fictive-Narrative Type 1” in Table 3.3). What they want readers to accept are major worldview alterations. This is a tough task. Whereas straightforward deductive presentations are persuasive for minor alterations of worldview architecture, they are not very good for major changes. We have only to look at the ancient Greek philosopher Zeno of Elea and his paradoxes of motion. He had wonderful deductive arguments that could not be surmounted, but he had few converts that motion was an impossible illusion. Likewise, Anselm of Canterbury garnered few converts with his ontological argument for the existence of God. The reason for this is that major worldview changes in the audience only come about when something richer than a mere deductive presentation is offered. What is missing is the empirically suggestive content that allows people to imagine changing the way they think about things in a major way. Because the downside of major change is substantial we are naturally very conservative about considering this. What is needed is a form of presentation that is more holistically engaging: fictive narrative. Only with an empirically suggestive presentation can philosophers really change readers in a fundamental way.28 My final presentation in this category is the more substantial fictive presentations of Jean-Paul Sartre, Iris Murdoch, Charles Johnson, and Albert Camus. These four follow a bit on a continuum of thinkers who are keen on conveying philosophical ideas indirectly via fictive discourse. Beginning with Sartre, there is a background of published conventional writings on philosophy—from the continental tradition of philosophy. These writings set out in direct fashion his ideas on existentialism and the history of philosophy. This body of well-received, conventionally presented philosophy allows Sartre to be less didactic in his fictive presentations than earlier writers such as Plato, Kierkegaard, or Nietzsche. In those cases, there was always a direct touchstone to apologue (fiction written to generate a particular practical end). However, in “No Exit,” Nausea, and Troubled Sleep, Sartre presents narratives that stand on their own terms as stories.29 Those readers unaware of Sartre’s philosophical works can enjoy the presentations as plays or novels in their own right.

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The critical understanding of what these works mean is tied up with the texts themselves. Thus, Sartre’s philosophical writings become a mere device in “author-intent” criticism. Others, who choose not to employ author-intent in their assessment of the work, will seek other means to ferret out meaning. They will rely upon contemporary theories of critical theory such as: formalism, structuralism, and deconstruction, reader response, psychoanalytic, Marxist, new historicism, cultural studies, feminism, queer theory, and post-colonialism.30 The independence of Sartre’s fictive writings was so extraordinary that he was offered the Nobel Prize in literature in 1964 (which he declined). Murdoch is in somewhat the same position, except that her fictive writings were her front line of communication. Though she published approximately 30 non-fiction pieces (reviews, essays, books), they were never the touchstone of her primary identity to readers. She was foremost a novelist. In such critically acclaimed works as An Accidental Man, The Green Knight, The Sea, The Sea (winner of the Booker Prize), and The Black Prince,31 Murdoch fictively presents stories that excite our interest in foundational ethics and epistemology.32 Because Murdoch leads with her fiction, her philosophical writings are secondary. Thus, there is an even purer sense of letting fiction, itself, carry the author’s message forward.33 In this case, one should use her fiction to illuminate her nonfiction. This is turning Sartre on his head! But what follows from this? It is simply that the empirically suggestive indirect discourse connects with the audience such that they feel they have entered her worldview perspective. Thus, when Murdoch engages in her direct deductive discourse, the rather sparser landscape is enhanced by the reader’s previous experience of the more vital fictive presentation. Charles Johnson moves us one step away from Murdoch. Johnson (National Book Award winner in fiction and Macarthur Award winner) is an academically trained philosopher (Ph.D.) who taught for many years in the academy. However, like Murdoch, they have no sustained philosophical opus in academic philosophy journals that we can use to engage in criticism as we could with Sartre. Johnson’s presentation of philosophy begins with his worldview tenets of Buddhism and the African American experience—both in the past in Oxherding Tale, 1983; Middle Passage, 1990 (National Book Award); Faith and the Good Thing, 1974; and Dreamer, 1998.34 Johnson is also a screenwriter with many awards to his credit as well as being an accomplished visual artist and cartoonist. Johnson resonates with cultural and identity themes that connect them in certain respects to Sartre’s historicism and issues of social interest— determined via the connection to shared community worldview.35 In Albert Camus (Nobel Prize for literature, 1957), we make the classification complete. Camus was not an academic. He was not trained professionally in philosophy and yet in his works The Stranger, The Fall, and The Plague he left an indelible philosophical mark on his audience.36

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This may be the purest sense of fictive presentations of philosophy: novels written by non-academics who see the indirect discourse of fiction as their only way to communicate what they see as true.37 Because of this, it is unclear whether the narrator’s vision and the author’s vision are separate and should be differentiated. The continuum of this presentation can be given a simple depiction as presented in Table 4.1. Table 4.1 is a gross approximation of the ways of presenting narrativebased philosophy. Some of the key points to mention are: (1) Some philosophers lead with their direct deductive presentation, whereas others lead with fictive presentations. (2) Some philosophers are openly didactic, exploiting the advantages of indirect discourse while not wanting to throw Table 4.1 Various Approaches to Narrative-Based Philosophy Plato Kierkegaard Nietzsche Sartre Murdoch Johnson Camus Uses fiction to deliver a message via indirect discourse Uses short fictive presentations Uses long fictive presentations Has a body of direct-deductive philosophy apart from the fictive presentations that is primary Uses fictive narratives as the primary presentation of philosophy Overwhelmingly devoted to fictive narrative expressions Is openly didactic Is coy in the presentation, requiring the audience to fill in the enthymeme gaps

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

N

N

Y

N

N

Y

N

Y

Y

Y

Y

N

N

Y

Y

N

N

N

Y

Y

N

N

Y

Y

Y

N

Y

N

N

N

Y

Y

Y Y

Y Y

Y Y

Y Y

N Y

N Y

N Y

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the door open to just any interpretation. (3) Some philosophers prefer to be non-didactic and by taking this strategy allow for a greater range of interpretations. In the end, each of these various analytical categories exists on a continuum. It would be my contention that, when an author wants to create major worldview change on the part of his audience, he will be more effective if he employs some form of narrative: long fictive apologue, long conventional fiction, or short narratives (stories, parables, thought experiments, and cases). The reason for this is because of the suggestive empirical content that the fictive presentation brings forward. I have contended elsewhere that suggestive empirical content helps most people understand a claim to such an extent that they are able to project it into their personal worldview.38 Because of the greater number of contact points that empirically suggestive narrative-based philosophy engenders, it is able to engage the personal worldview of most readers more strongly than direct, deductive-based presentations (that offer fewer worldview contact points). It also sits as an invitation for personal reconstruction in ways not entirely conscripted by the author. The line of demarcation between narrative-based philosophy and fictive display that is amenable to a philosophical reconstruction is that, in the case of narrative-based philosophy, the text presents itself (with or without author intent) as making truth claims that take the form of being likely stories that suggest ways to illumine those inevitable shadows that lurk about the topography of truth. The structure of fictive claims can be discovered within the text through the examination of various narrative devices—such as carefully crafted plot situations or dialogue between characters that present truth claims. The boundaries of the claim will be less precise than deductive presentations, but they are many times more engaging to readers. Narrativebased philosophy creates a stronger partnership of author and reader. The greater the suggestiveness of the narrative, the greater the audience engagement and cooperative ownership is likely to be. Because this process is so powerful, it is very important that practitioners obey some guidelines unless they want to be subject to the charge of corrupting their audience—a serious offense that mistakenly cost the life of at least one prominent philosopher.

Applying Fictive Narratives, Cases, and Thought Experiments So what is there about the process of the audience engaging with fictive narratives (of any length), cases, and thought experiments that need some rules to prevent audience corruption? I have argued elsewhere that sincerity and authenticity are necessary dispositions for the creation of

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the goodwill.39 Those who present fictive narratives that are structured principally to be persuasive (without regard for what is ultimately true) are engaged in mere rhetoric. Like Plato’s attack on Gorgias, rhetoric (for its own sake simply to win an argument) is the scourge of philosophy, which is concerned with the passionate quest for truth. Thus, those who use narrative as a powerful device merely to put forth a position persuasively fail at least in authenticity (using the most epistemologically reliable means possible) and possibly also in sincerity (seeking the truth for its own sake) because the rhetorician puts winning the point (and its ensuing prudential advantages) above all else. If one were to fail in either sincerity or authenticity, then there is the distinct possibility that he will be corrupting his audience. If this is done with intent, then the speaker may not properly call himself a philosopher. To get more closely to actual situations, let’s take a moment and look at each of these categories separately and try to discern how each works well and how they may be corrupted. Fictive Narratives The safest category perhaps is the fictive narrative. This is because it exists in at least two modes: the apologue (direct and easily applied philosophy through the presentation) and conventional fiction that seeks first to tell a story that is compelling. In the first case, the author through her narrator and characters presents a carefully scripted tale. Famous examples of this are Plato’s Cave, Aesop’s Fables, Jesus’s and Buddha’s parables, and some of Plutarch’s Parallel Lives (though presented as biography, they are often regarded as fiction with a definite point of view). The reason that apologues are relatively safe from corruption is that the moral is so clearly presented and the fictive clothing relatively transparent. The stories are told with few modifications of the real world or, if presented in a fantasy realm, the conditions of the fantasy realm are consistent with the common body of knowledge. The common body of knowledge is a term I use to describe what any given social group of people might accept as a proper set of facts and values about the world.40 These shared assumptions allow discourse to proceed. When someone with an aberrant maxim from the community’s agreed body of knowledge and values puts forth a claim based upon these novel assumptions, then there is often a clash. For example, in the Jim Crow South (USA) a speaker who assumed that African Americans were people wholly entitled to equal rights under the law might confront a social community that didn’t accept her assumed common body of knowledge. As a result, her audience might turn off right there and no meaningful rational discourse would follow.41 When the common body of knowledge for any given community, itself, is set up for scientific rational scrutiny, then it is the case that some

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versions will be shown to have been false. “False” here means that they have violated both epistemological and ethical standards for making reliable judgments. Because apologues are so transparent in their presentation, the dangers of their corrupting the audience are relatively low. In conventional fiction with a philosophical intent, the story is presented first. If the story doesn’t work, there is no need to go further. The reader is confronted first with whether the work counts as good fiction. Does it fulfill various critical expectations—such as imitating nature, reading clearly, plotting convincingly, etc.? These primary sorting devices will enable the reader to toss out a work that is fictively deficient before considering anything else. Because it is assumed that a work that fulfills these critical expectations is sufficiently vetted (because these are the touchstones to the true),42 one may be less concerned about the possibility of using the powerful communicative device of fiction to promote bad philosophy. Cases Cases are fictive presentations that are structured so that the reader is enjoined to come up with his own response at the end. Some cases are open-ended so that the author is really interested in stimulating autonomous thinking with broad boundaries that the reader must limit to begin his evaluation. Others are structured for right answers. Still others are structured so that students are to show how much technical expertise they possess in solving practical problems (often the case in business school and law school cases). From this presentation, it is clear that cases are highly artificial in their structure. They go beyond fictive apologues to a more conscripted vision of the world. They present a vision and then they request an audience response from that particular frame only. As an example, let me focus upon one of my own more famous cases. Murder in Northern Ireland A small, remote town in Northern Ireland is composed of Irish Catholics (20%) and Irish Protestants (80%). All the Catholics live in one section of town on a peninsula that juts into the river just east of the main section of town. One morning a young Protestant girl is found raped and murdered next to the town green. General consensus concludes that a Catholic must have committed the crime. The Protestants form a citizens’ committee that makes the following demand to the constable: “We believe you to be a Catholic sympathizer. Therefore, we do not think you will press fast enough for this killer to be

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The Structure of the New Paradigm brought to justice. We know a Catholic did the crime. We have therefore sealed off the Catholic section of town. No one can go in or out. If you do not hand over the criminal by sundown, we will torch the entire Catholic section of town, killing all 1,000 people. Don’t try to call for help. We have disabled all communication devices.” The constable worked hard all day in an effort to determine who did it, but he could not. At one hour before sundown, he didn’t know what to do. His deputy said, “Why don’t we just pick a random Catholic and tell them that he did it? At lease we’d be saving 999 lives.” “But then I’d be responsible for killing an innocent man,” replied the constable. “Better one innocent die and 999 be saved. After all, there’s no way the two of us can stop the mob. You have to give them a scapegoat.”

This case study is rather pointed. Like most case studies it tries to narrow the focus of consideration upon a limited range of topics. In this case it seeks to evaluate the idea of whether human life is additive and whether consequentialism is the proper way to think about such cases. If human life is additive and if simple consequentialism is the proper way to think about such cases, then the final answer is clear: Find a Catholic scapegoat and offer him over to the Protestant mob as the killer/rapist. You kill an innocent man, but you save 999 lives. It doesn’t matter whether the culprit was even Catholic or not. You’ve just saved 999 lives. Often this sort of case is examined from the utilitarian point of view. But depending upon the time horizon and whether there are utilitarian rules at stake, it is unclear (even under utilitarianism) what the final result should be. Of course, if human life is not additive, then to murder one innocent is the same as murdering 1,000. The protocols for cases are that they follow some scenario that could actually happen. We are constrained by the common body of knowledge to create cases that seem plausible to the reader. Outlandish cases are of little interest since their implausibility renders their probability of occurrence at very close to nil. Why should readers pull their hair out to solve a case that could never be? A case is meant to simulate a choice situation in real life. The parameters are narrowed so that there is more focus on some particular aspect of life. However, in the end it is assumed that the presentation and solution of case-exercises aid the reader in practical decision-making. Finish enough cases and one is more likely to have improved his decision-making ability. The emphasis is upon empowering the reader to think for himself.

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Thought Experiments Thought experiments are fictive presentations that are structured in a particular way in order to challenge the reader to think about a traditional problem from a conscripted point of view. Like cases, thought experiments call for an action response on the part of the reader. Readers are supposed to go through a thought experiment and derive an outcome. However, unlike cases, a thought experiment is not as open-ended. The author of a thought experiment intends to offer a practical problem (just like a case) but then also suggests additional criteria that will alter the way that the reader approaches the problem. In this way a thought experiment is more like a game: An outcome is given and the rules of play are set out. The outcome, if the reader succeeds, is to finish the game according to the rules and then to contemplate how she got there. Let us turn to one of the more famous thought experiments over the past 60 years, The Prisoner’s Dilemma. The Prisoner’s Dilemma Tanya and Cinque have been arrested for robbing the Hibernia Savings Bank and have been placed in separate isolation cells. Both care much more about their personal freedom than about the welfare of their accomplice. A clever prosecutor makes the following offer to each. “You may choose to confess or remain silent. If you confess and your accomplice remains silent, I will drop all charges against you and use your testimony to ensure that your accomplice does serious time. Likewise, if your accomplice confesses while you remain silent, they will go free while you do the time. If you both confess I get two convictions, but I’ll see to it that you both get early parole. If you both remain silent, I’ll have to settle for token sentences on firearms possession charges. If you wish to confess, you must leave a note with the jailer before my return tomorrow morning.”43 What the prisoner’s dilemma means to show is that if one is socially interested in her worldview perspective, then the best result is mutual silence. However, if one is individually oriented in worldview (such as is assumed by Rawls),44 then the best result is to confess (while the other remains silent). In versions of the dilemma where one party is able to cheat the other by making her think that she will be silent when in fact she has no intention of doing so, there is a stark disconnect between social and selfish. Thus, this thought experiment has been viewed by many as a watershed to separate the distinct worldview orientations of the social vs. the egoistic. However, if both parties are trying to cheat each other, then a bad outcome is likely to result. David Gauthier wishes to enter this arena in

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which each party can put her mutual cards on the table in order to cooperate successfully.45 The same mini/max strategy is employed to minimize large-scale downside outcomes. However, Gauthier adds this twist (contra Rawls) that concessions calculated by mini/max be put into a context of the bargainer’s ideal outcome. He calls this mini/max relative concession. This procedure is in everyone’s interests. Just like Hobbes, it can be agreed that situations of extreme uncertainty work to no one’s advantage. The thought experiment thus engages its audience by presenting a carefully crafted fictive situation (like case studies) but then also creates added rules that are meant to steer the reader to one sort of outcome: Unless you play by these rules, you won’t win. Winning is paramount, thus (by the backdoor) the audience is conscripted to think about this sort of problem in the manner advocated by the author of the thought experiment. What makes thought experiments more dangerous than cases is that they use the force of short fictive narrative to enlist the audience to think about a problem in just one sort of way. The aim is not reader autonomy but reader enlistment in the cohort of those who will approach problems in this sort of way. It is rather evangelistic in its motivation. Because of this evangelistic mission, purveyors of thought experiments take on an extra burden of responsibility over those who merely create cases or those who present fictive narratives. What this extra burden amounts to is: not to twist empirical facts of the world to an unrealistic level and then afterward to seek application in the realistic world in which we all live (the common body of knowledge). If it isn’t the case that a spelunker cannot be trapped in the mouth of a cave he has already entered, then one cannot use such a premise to structure a thought experiment about killing an innocent. If torture doesn’t work as an interrogation device, then assuming it does in the “ticking time bomb thought experiment” forces a false conclusion. There are many thought experiments that would fall prey to this critique. Thought experiments are very powerful fictive vehicles. If they do not pay heed to the way they realistically apply to the world in all accounts, then there is a very real possibility that they may propagate an artificial fictive scenario based upon fanciful boundary conditions that count as rules. When the game is over, what has been demonstrated? Only that in such a fanciful world as just set out, that outcome x probably occurs. The false slide is then to suggest that x applies as well to our world. This is an equivocation. The application to our world is yet to be demonstrated. If the thought experiment employs either (a) non-empirical criteria or (b) game rules that are overly artificial, then the final application to life (as we know it) is likely to be false. To suggest otherwise is sophistic rhetoric.46 Thus, thought experiments (among all narrative-based philosophy) are most susceptible to the charge of being inauthentic and/or insincere and thus corrupting the audience.

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This section has examined fictive narratives, cases, and thought experiments as they contribute to the readers’ quest for sincerity and authenticity in their own lives. It is suggested that each category has some cautions that should be obeyed and that they are increasingly important as one moves in the direction of thought experiments. The potential for corrupting rhetoric, aka evangelistic propaganda, is most pronounced in thought experiments. Thus, I propose that all of us present our students and readers with a cautionary note on the thought experiment fallacy. This occurs when the artificial nature of the thought experiments distorts our understanding of a practical outcome. Most thought experiments try to focus upon some extremely narrow point in order to evaluate it. However, when the thought experiment makes some unrealistic assumption about human nature in its presentation or in its game rules, then the result may be false. Though we philosophers are keen on abstract and imaginative fictive renderings in just this way, this caveat is very important.

Conclusion This chapter has sought to bring forward a methodological type of philosophy that I have called narrative-based philosophy. Narrative-based philosophy can include all branches of philosophy, but probably works best when its empirically suggestive emphases are exploited. This occurs most in applied philosophy (though David Chalmers has used the film narrative of the Matrix to explore abstract principles of metaphysics).47 Narrative-based philosophy works on the principle of empirically suggestive indirect discourse. It makes claims that amount to offering an explanation that is a likely story. This is because it highlights ranges of truth that are not amenable to direct deductively based discourse. The presentation of narrative-based philosophy ranges from the apologue to conventional fiction (in which the audience is conscripted to be part of the team, along with the author) in the examination of a particular philosophical problem. What one loses when one chooses narrative-based philosophy (as opposed to deductively based discourse) is exact precision of argumentative support for the conclusion. What one gains (as opposed to direct deductive discourse) is an ability to uniquely engage the personal worldview of the audience.48 This gain is because of the empirical suggestiveness of narrative. It transports us to another way of thinking about things that is better than any other vehicle. With such power, the principal caveat of narrative-based philosophy is to adopt procedural rules that will lessen the probability that one is corrupting his audience. Corruption of the audience along with approaches by the author that is inauthentic and/or insincere are the greatest violations in which philosophers can engage. It has been the contention of this chapter that, by keeping the common body of knowledge at hand, practitioners using fictive narratives, cases, and thought experiments (most

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at risk) will be less likely to fail in their mission as philosophers to first seek truth and then, to communicate this vision to others in a way that enhances audience autonomy while considering novel ways of thinking about the world.

Notes 1. As per endnote #3, the fourth stage of the Personal Worldview Imperative is about “acting out one’s expressed, constructed values in the world” so that (a) one is not a hypocrite (saying one thing and doing another), nor (b) attached to a plan that is impossible to achieve (utopian). 2. Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Biographia Literaria and Aesthetical Essays ed by J. Shawcross. 2 vol. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1949 [1817]), chs. 13–14. 3. The Personal Worldview Imperative is a cornerstone of my work in ethics. “All people must develop a single comprehensive and internally coherent worldview that is good and that we strive to act out in our daily lives.” For more background on this see my books A Just Society (New York and Oxford: Rowman and Littlefield, 2004): ch. 2, Morality and Global Justice: Justifications and Applications (Boulder, CO: Westview, 2011): ch. 2, and Natural Human Rights: A Theory (New York and Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014): ch. 6. For some scholarly discussion on the Personal Worldview Imperative see John-Stewart Gordon, ed. Morality and Justice: Reading Boylan’s A Just Society (New York, NY: Lexington Press, 2009): ch. 2 and 14. 4. Shelley’s most prominent poems include “Prometheus Unbound,” “Hymn to Intellectual Beauty,” “Mont Blanc,” and “Ozymandius.” His fiction and non-fiction writing can be found in his collected works, ten volumes edited by Roger Ingpen and Walter E. Peck (New York, NY: Scribners, 1926–1930). On a personal note, readers should be aware that Shelley was a free thinker who wrote a track advocating atheism and alternate family arrangements. His wife, Mary Godwin (from Mary Wollstonecroft and William Godwin—both free thinkers in their own right) was later to write the gothic novel, Frankenstein, the introduction to which was written by Percy. 5. John Keats’s doctrine of negative capability is very similar to what Shelley is advocating. In both, the viewer is transported into the worldview of the artist or narrator so that he/she might be transported into another way of approaching and solving the problems of the world. For a current understanding of this concept in the context of Keats see Christoph Bode, “Hyperion, The Fall of Hyperion, and Keats’s Poetics” Wordsworth Circle 31.1 (2000): 31–37. 6. Some would seek to add “empathy” to this list. “Empathy” is a word that (according to the Oxford English Dictionary) entered the language in 1912 as a translation of ein (in) + fühlung (feeling) into English after the writings of Hans Lipps, Academy: The Monthly Record of Literature, Learning, Science, and Art 17 (1912): 209. Lipps set forth a theory of literary criticism based upon one’s ability to project himself into the work of art. This is similar in content to Keats’s “negative capability.” For a discussion on the historical development of this term in English see: Lauren G. Wispé, “The History of the Concept of Empathy” in N. Eisenberg and J. Strayer, eds. Empathy and its Development (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1987): 17–37. (Wispé puts the date into English at 1909.) Many try to draw distinctions between “empathy” and “sympathy” with the former indicating the connection of

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10. 11.

12.

13. 14. 15.

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feeling and the latter a connection that is attached with a sorrow for another’s plight. For some discussion of this point of view see the collection of essays, in Eisenberg and Strayer (1987). I will not draw such a distinction. The reason goes back to the origins of the word. If we concentrate more upon the Greek empathos and sumpathos, then there is not really enough there to draw these sorts of differences. In the first case one “recognizes” the feelings in another while in the latter case one “connects” to those feelings. For my purposes in ethics, what is important is that one person both recognize and connect with the feelings of another along with other dispositions such as care, openness, and love. It thus seems both more convenient and etymologically more correct to combine both meanings in the word “sympathy” as understood in the context of care, openness, and love. This mix better represents the emotional element to be found in the goodwill. Boylan (2004): ch. 6. Emile Zola, “J’Acuse: Lettre au Président de la République” L’Aurore (January 13, 1898). Upton Sinclair, The Jungle (New York, NY: Doubleday, Page, and Co, 1906); Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man (New York, NY: Random House, 1952); Elie Wiesel, Night. Stella Rodway, tr. (New York, NY: Pyramid Books, 1961); Charles Johnson, Oxherding Tale (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1982). Some would say that it must contain direct deductive arguments; see Megill, 61–62. There is, of course, a tradition that suggests that Aristotle had direct, deductive-based works and indirect, narrative-based works. Under this account the complementary half of Aristotle’s opus has been lost over time, cf. W.D. Ross, Aristotle (London: Methuen & Co. Ltd., 1971): 7–8. “Empirical content” throughout most of this chapter refers to a narrative or deductive philosophical presentation that offers examples that refer to events in the world (actual or possible). It is to be contrasted to a presentation that was largely symbolic or abstract. It is especially effective when the proposed events are explicitly causally linked: (a) “The King died, then the Queen died” has a sort of empirical content, but (b) “The King died, then the Queen died of grief” is much richer, cf. E.M. Forester, Aspects of the Novel (New York, NY: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1954). “Authenticity” and “sincerity” are given specification in Michael Boylan, A Just Society (Lanham, MD and Oxford: Rowman and Littlefield, 2004): 21–31; 43–45. This connection to authenticity and sincerity to personal worldview is set out in Boylan, 2004, ch. 2. “Projection” of a claim into a rich background has other uses as well, cf. Nelson Goodman’s use in evaluating claims in the philosophy of science, Fact, Fiction, and Forecast (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1955): chs. 3–4. It should also be noted that Goodman was also keenly interested in the philosophical dimensions of art. A related concept comes from German art criticism in the form of “empathy.” “Empathy” is a word that (according to the Oxford English Dictionary) entered the language in 1912 as a translation of ein (in) + fühlung (feeling) into English after the writings of Hans Lipps, Academy: The Monthly Record of Literature, Learning, Science, and Art 17 (1912): 209. Lipps set forth a theory of literary criticism based upon one’s ability to project himself into the work of art. This is similar in content to Keats’s “negative capability” or Eliot’s “objective correlative.” For a discussion on the historical development of this term in English see L.G. Wispé,

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16. 17.

18.

19. 20. 21. 22.

The Structure of the New Paradigm “The History of the Concept of Empathy” in N. Eisenberg and J. Strayer, eds. Empathy and its Development (NY: Cambridge University Press, 1987): 17–37. (Wispé puts the date into English at 1909.) This chapter would accept the affective input as an instance of how narrative-based philosophy operates differently from deductive-based philosophy. John Rawls, A Theory of Justice (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1971). Here I’m thinking of a sort of literary criticism that holds the text as having a certain objective status. This objective status can be enhanced by various contexts. This is no different from any direct deductive presentation: there is the text; there are the claims derived from the text; there is a reconstruction of the argument for the claims; but finally there is the context in which all of these are understood. Herein lies the place for literary criticism in narrativebased philosophy. Robert Gooding-Williams, “Literary Fiction as Philosophy: The Case of Nietzsche’s Zarathustra” The Journal of Philosophy 83.11 (1986): 667–675. Gooding-Williams is referring to Carnap’s remarks about Nietzsche’s Zarathustra in the context of deflating metaphysics: Rudolph Carnap, “The Overcoming of Metaphysics through Logical Analysis of Language” in Michael Murray, ed. Heidegger and Modern Philosophy (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1978): 31–34. Platonis, Timaeus in Opera, vol. IV, edited by John Burnet (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1902): ton eikota muthon, 29d2. William Kingdom Clifford, “The Ethics of Belief” in Lectures and Essays, vol. 2 (London: Macmillan & Co. 1901): 163–205. I set this out in Michael Boylan, The Good, The True, and The Beautiful (London: Bloomsbury, 2008): 33, 70, 76. Plato’s argument for this in the Timaeus can be deductively reconstructed as: 1. There are two sorts of thing that is: A. The eternal thing that has no becoming (ti to on aei, genesin de ouk exon, 27d 6), and B. That which is always becoming but never gets there (ti to gignomenon men aei, on de oudepote, 28a1)—A (27d-28a) 2. That which is apprehended by reason (noesis and logon) is always in the same state—A (28a) 3. That which is apprehended by doxa and aeithesis always becomes but never gets there—A (28a) 4. [There is a link between ontology and the mode of knowing]—A 5. [Eternal things link to reason and logic while transitory things (that cometo-be and pass away) are linked to sensation and belief]—1–4 6. All created things are created by a cause—A (28a) 7. The demiourgos [a paradigm for understanding creation] looks to eternal patterns that are noble (kalon)—A (28b) 8. Created patterns are not wholly noble—A (28b) 9. The universe is as noble as possible—A (29a) 10. We know that the universe was created by a demiourgos based upon eternal patterns—4–9 (29a) 11. Words are akin to matter—A (29b) 12. Books or arguments can imitate the eternal or they can imitate other books—A (29b) 13. Being is to truth as becoming is to belief—A (29c) 14. [The irrefutable and invincible are better than the refutable and vulnerable]—F 15. [The best account is one that flows from eternal truth]—11–14

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16. Humans only have limited access to the eternal forms—F (29e) 17. Humans cannot provide the best accounts and must settle for likely stories grounded in belief—15–16 (29d) 23. From Søren Kierkegaard, Fear and Trembling, tr. Walter Lowrie (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1941): 26–29. I would like to note here my discussions with Seán Boylan on indirect discourse and Kierkegaard. These discussions helped me formulate my views on this text. I also note here that my own forthcoming philosophical novel, The Long Fall of the Ball from the Wall (2020), puts the Abraham story on its head, with the son feeling enjoined to kill the father. 24. I go through a mechanical process of translating visual and narrative data into direct deductive discourse in The Process of Argument (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1988): ch. 3. 25. I go over some more prominent examples in Part three of The Good, The True, and The Beautiful (London: Continuum, 2008). 26. Friedrich Nietzsche, The Joyful Wisdom in The Complete Works of Nietzsche (Edinburgh: T.N. Foulis, 1910). Of course many would also cite Thus Spoke Zarathustra, ed. Robert Pippin, tr. Adrian Del Canto (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006). 27. There is a great debate on when the historical Socrates ceases to be a figure in his own right and then becomes a transparent mouthpiece of the author, Plato. For an introduction to this debate see Catherine Osborne, “Socrates in the Platonic Dialogues” Philosophical Investigations 29.1 (2006): 1–21; Theodor Ebert, “Wenn ich einen schõnen Mythos erzãhlen dar: Zustatus Herkunft und Funktion der Schlussmythos in Platons Phaidon” in Markus Janka and Christian Schãince, eds. Platons als Mythologe (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 2002): 231–269; Donald Morrison, “On the Alleged Historical Reliability of Plato’s Apology” Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 82.3 (2000): 235–265. 28. Many philosophers don’t care about changing the worldviews of their readers. They see themselves engaged in a sort of “king of the mountain” game in which they put forth a claim with a deductively elegant argument. The challenge to other philosophers is to try to prove them wrong. If others do not, then they can trot out a mission accomplished banner and strut about well pleased. 29. Jean-Paul Sartre, Nausea tr. Lloyd Alexander (Cambridge, MA: R. Bentley, 1979); ibidem, Troubled Sleep. Gerard Hopkins, tr. (New York: Knopf, 1950); No Exit and Three Other Plays, tr. S. Gilbert (NY: Vintage Books, 1956). 30. Here are a few select examples of these: Formalism—Ivor A. Richards, Principles of Literary Criticism (New York, NY: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1924); Structuralism—Ferdinand de Saussure, Course in General Linguistics. (New York, NY: Philosophical Library, 1959); Deconstructionism—Jacques Derrida, Of Grammatology (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1967); Reader-Response—Stanley Fish, Self-Consuming Artifacts: The Experience of Seventeenth-Century Literature (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1972); Psychoanalytic—Slavoj Zizek, Looking Awry: An Introduction to Jacques Lacan through Popular Culture (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1991); Marxist—Terry Eagleton, After Theory (New York, NY: Basic Books, 2003); New Historicism—Michel Foucault, Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason (New York, NY: Pantheon, 1973); Cultural Studies—Clifford Geertz, Local Knowledge (New

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31.

32.

33.

34.

35. 36. 37. 38.

39. 40.

41.

The Structure of the New Paradigm York, NY: Basic Books, 1985); Feminist—Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar, The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer in Nineteenth Century Literary Imagination (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1979); Queer Theory—Adrienne Rich, “Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Experience” in Women, Sex and Sexuality, ed. Catharine Stimpson and Ethel Spector Person (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1980): 62–91; Post Colonialism—Homi K. Bhabha, The Location of Culture (New York, NY: Routledge, 1994). Iris Murdoch, An Accidental Man (London: Chatto & Windus, 1971); ibidem, The Green Knight (London: Chatto & Windus, 1993); ibidem, The Sea, The Sea (London: Chatto & Windus, 1978); ibidem, The Black Prince (London: Chatto & Windus, 1973). In a very suggestive published dissertation, Guy Backus believes that the best example for Murdoch is The Unicorn. He thinks that metaphysics as ontology is Murdoch’s primary goal (seen in the context of neo-Platonism). Some of the works I mention in this chapter he believes to be too close to the livingbreathing author so that narrative-based philosophy really doesn’t happen. Backus’s position is rather toward the apologue in my Figure 3.1. See Guy Backus, The Novelist as Philosopher; The Philosopher as Novelist (Berne: Peter Lang, 1986). Much of Iris Murdoch’s philosophical writings can be found in The Sovereignty of Good (London: Routledge, 1970) and Metaphysics as a Guide to Morals (New York, NY: Penguin, 1993). For an evaluation of Murdoch’s philosophy in relation to her novels, especially The Unicorn, see Guy Backus, Iris Murdoch: The Novelist as Philosopher; The Philosopher as Novelist (New York, NY: Peter Lang, 1986). Charles Johnson, Oxherding Tale (Indianapolis, IN: Indiana University Press, 1982); ibidem, Middle Passage (New York, NY: Atheneum, 1990); ibidem, Faith and the Good Thing (New York, NY: Viking, 1974); ibidem, Dreamer (New York, NY: Scribner, 1998). A very interesting collection of essays on Johnson as a philosophical novelist is Marc C. Conner and William R. Nash, Charles Johnson: Novelist as Philosopher (Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 2007). Albert Camus, The Stranger, tr. Stuart Gilbert (London: Hamish Hamilton, 1946); ibidem, The Fall, tr. Justin O’Brien (New York, NY: Knopf, 1958); and ibidem, The Plague, tr. Stuart Gilbert (London: Hamish Hamilton, 1948). Camus did write popular essays, but they were more directed as popular commentary than academic philosophy. I make this point in Boylan, 2004, ch. 2. A related—though very different— perspective comes from the particularists. For an example of their views see Jonathan Dancy, Ethics Without Principles (Oxford: Clarendon, 2006) cf. Joseph Raz, “The Trouble With Particularism” Mind 115.457 (2006): 99–120 and Mark N. Lane and Olivia M. Little, “Defending Moral Particularism” in James Dreier, ed. Contemporary Debates in Moral Theory (Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2006). Boylan, 2004, ch. 2. The goodwill ensures completeness for one of the four parts of the Personal Worldview Imperative. I first set out my depiction of the common body of knowledge in Michael Boylan, The Process of Argument (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1988): ch. 1. I have expanded this in Boylan, 2004, ch. 5 and in Michael Boylan, The Good, the True and the Beautiful (London: Continuum, 2008): part 2. I discuss this in Michael Boylan, A Just Society (New York and Oxford: Rowman and Littlefield, 2004), ch. 2.

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42. This is obviously very slanted to the correspondence theory of truth. I believe it works for coherence and pragmatic theories as well—see Boylan, 2008: chs. 5 and 6. 43. The Prisoner’s Dilemma was developed by Merrill Flood and Melvin Dresher for the Rand Corporation in 1950. There are many variations on the Prisoner’s Dilemma. The depiction given here is taken from Steven Kuhn, cf. Steven Kuhn and Serge Moresi, “Pure and Utilitarian Prisoner’s Dilemmas” Economics and Philosophy 11 (1995): 123–133. 44. John Rawls, A Theory of Justice (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1971): ch. 3. 45. David Gauthier, Morals by Agreement (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1986) and ibidem, Moral Dealing: Contract, Ethics, and Reason (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1990). 46. This is the essence of what I’ve termed the thought experiment fallacy—particularly prevalent among too many philosophers. 47. David Chalmers gave such a talk on the movie “The Matrix” in June 2003 at the Australian National University, Canberra, ACT. I was in attendance, and it was spectacular. 48. This is powerfully suited to the overlap and modification mode of worldview change set out in “The Way We Confront Novel Normative Theories”—see Chapter 5.

5

The Special Logic of Fictive Narrative Philosophy

Because logic is an essential feature of any artifact that seeks to call itself philosophy, it is incumbent upon anyone putting forth the revolutionary claim that literature can be philosophy to show how there is a form of logic or several forms (logics) that perform the function of leading the audience to a structured confrontation with the point of contention. This process needs some careful presentation. Let’s begin.

Recognizing Logics When we think about logic, most philosophers begin with deductive logic. But logic is a rather broader term than that. From its etymology “logic” comes from legein (to speak). It is frequently linked with the particle, dia, which changes things somewhat in that it is giving a causal feature by speaking through a problem. Of course, there are many ways to speak through or think through (dia-noia). The recognition of this is the first step toward understanding the distinctive worldview logic of fictive narrative philosophy. Sometimes we react to an event by subsuming it under some covering law of deductive logic that tells what to do in just these circumstances. (Devoted Kantian and Thomist scholars would like this to be always the case.) However, for most people living on earth, when there is a considerable disruption in our lived pattern we choose various ways to respond. Hence, the necessity for a variety of logics. For example, in our daily lives we may experience firsthand an act of cruelty such as a husband humiliating his wife in a public setting. This may cause bystanders to think about marital cruelty in the particular and gender roles in general. Depending upon the act performed, it may also cause us to intervene on behalf of the abused spouse. We see the same causal series of events happening in the narrative plot, for example, in Crime and Punishment,1 when (in a dream) Raskolnikov witnesses a horse being beaten to death. This creates several disparate reactions about the immediate, particular incident but it also links in his mind about whether violence, itself, might be a viable tool for an uberman.

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Raskolnikov wants to use his experience to make sense of his personal worldview and how it is to guide him to perform appropriate actions in his life. This dynamic grabs us because this is what we do, too. Each of us goes through our days with our own personal worldview, and we try to apply it to what confronts us. Sometimes we come up short. For example, it is well known that, when we face key life-changing events in our lives, many of us become unhinged until we find a new way to cope within our personal worldview (which may cause us to alter our personal worldview).2 These life-changing events don’t always have to be bad.3 The point is that they are major: getting married, having a child, being employed in a dream job, buying a house all seem to qualify as positive life events and yet they shake us up. Then there are the negative events: getting divorced, the death of a child, getting fired, having your house go into foreclosure—these shake us up as well. The point here is that there is an experiential logic that starts with events that happen to us that trigger a mechanism: first to make sense of it all and second to find an appropriate action response. We are not content, as people, to throw it all to chance and carry on like jellyfish reacting to the outgoing tide. So we begin with show and tell. Some event confronts us—either actually in our lives or indirectly in events told to us in a story: This latter possibility is the kernel of how the special logic of fictive narrative philosophy works. In our lived experience we possess a personal worldview. I have set out that the personal worldview of any person is her understanding about the facts and values in the world.4 Because our purposive action is predicated upon how we understand the world to be (both factually and normatively), this is a critical component in our justifications for action (part of the larger sense of logic—what seems to be the most plausible [best] course of action). Now, many people (as per Plato’s lowest level of the Divided Line)5 do not spend much time engaged in personal worldview reflection. Plato said that they were engaging in random image-arranging reactions to an empirically presented reality. In our modern culture this could be translated to some applications of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. We see particular images on our mesmerizing smart phones or 140-character exclamations and we go for or against—but why? Is it that all society-driven facts and norms are merely the expression of spleen (one’s personal prejudices)? If that is true, isn’t that a prescription for slavery? Shouldn’t there be a standard against which these facts and values are measured? Without this standard for facts and values we face real problems in communication. At the writing of this book, there are a considerable number of people in the United States who do not believe in climate change. This is because they believe in a giant conspiracy on the part of the scientific community to hoodwink the public for some self-interested ends.6

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Is everyone permitted to her own facts?7 What about her own ethical values?8 Well, some values are certainly relative. For example, do you want blond, red, or dark brown hair? There really is no ethical choice here—even non-natural colors such as blue, pink, or orange do not rise to the level of an ethical choice, as such. It is a permission based upon personal pleasure analysis. These sorts of values I have termed cultural relativism.9 However, as an ethical realist, I would say that it is not in our power to set out an acceptable doctrine of murder or interpersonal exploitation (key examples of universal ethical prohibitions). Sometimes these universal maxims are nuanced. For example, we all seek personal autonomy (within limits). But what should those limits be? Are we permitted to be ignorant of current events—especially in democratic societies?10 This is, of course, an epistemological obligation that has ethical dimensions. And it is significant that when William Kingdom Clifford wrote about this, he used a little story to make his point.11 Thus, one sort of logic is deontic logic, which seeks to understand a reasoned account for why we should or should not act in a particular way. It is my contention that one can create a persuasive case in this domain via direct discourse deductive logic or an indirect fictive narrative presentation. But more specificity is needed about this latter claim. The Logic of the Personal Worldview Imperative So the first stop on our journey to set out the destination of fictive narrative logic is by examining a little more closely the personal worldview and how it should be constructed. I am on record that the guiding principle should follow certain standards that I call the Personal Worldview Imperative (PWI): “All people must develop a single comprehensive and internally coherent worldview that is good and that we strive to act out in our daily lives.”12 The Personal Worldview Imperative has four parts. The first is that one’s worldview should be complete. Completeness is a formal condition of axiomatic theories (the most common sort of deductive system). It means that there can be no well-formed formula that can be presented to the system without there being a system-generated response. Of course, this has been a significant problem with axiomatic closed systems that might generate self-referential statements.13 In our case we do not present a closed system but an open system. The open system is also a messy system. There will be no pure mechanical absolute certainty. Instead, there will be balancing between a finite number of available alternatives—much like the indifference curve in economics that only considers two options at a time.14 So what will be the choice criteria? Two factors: the rational and emotion goodwill. Now, philosophy is very familiar with the rational goodwill. Aristotle, Aquinas, and Kant clearly hold it out as the definiens of humanity. One must embrace deductive logic. To do otherwise is to

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eschew our very humanity. Aristotle also played with epagoge, which somewhat translates as akin to inductive logic.15 The question we need to ask is whether the principal characters are committed to some form of rationality (in the first case of the rational goodwill). For example, in Thomas Hardy’s Jude the Obscure the character of Sue Bridehead is decidedly not committed to the rational goodwill.16 She is the cousin of the protagonist, Jude Fawley. Jude loves Sue and wants to marry her, but Sue sometimes acts as if she wants Jude to leave her alone and then at other times she expresses her absolute love for him. This means that at some moment in time, t1, Sue tells Jude to back off. At another moment in time, t2, Sue communicates to Jude that she deeply loves him. This “on and off” affection continues throughout the book. This demonstrates that Sue does not possess the rational goodwill. If she were to strive for the rational goodwill, then she would have to assess Jude’s character as a possible lifelong friend/lover and come to some sort of judgment that she could abide by. Instead, she employs whimsical intuition so that sometimes she wants Jude and sometimes she does not. Whimsical intuition works against the rational goodwill. On the other hand, Jude is a steady character so that when he decides his opinion of Sue (call this declaration of love, x) at t1, then he doesn’t change his mind at t2 and declare a judgment ~x (ceteris paribus). Because of this, Jude can be judged as having thought about his relationship with Sue and decided that their friendship/love was positive for both of them, which is an important part of the rational goodwill.17 Sue is also guilty of not possessing an emotional goodwill. As I have set out before,18 the emotional goodwill begins with empathy—the rational understanding of another’s personal worldview and how it might direct them. Empathy is morally neutral because this understanding can be used for good or ill. But when empathy enables one to connect emotionally with another, then sympathy kicks in. Level sympathy (with both parties recognizing themselves as equal and there is an emotional connection) yields care (which constitutes an action response). The whole process can be characterized as philosophical love. Returning to Jude the Obscure, Hardy depicts Sue Bridehead as having no empathy. She either does not see or does not choose to act upon Jude’s desire for a married life with her. She is also duplicitous with Richard Philloston in accepting his offer of marriage when she does not love him. The emotional goodwill requires sincerity (the execution of one’s best efforts) and authenticity (using reliable sources for guiding action). Sue has the former but not the latter. This creates a problem for Sue because she cannot know how properly to apply herself. She gets herself into difficult situations because of it, and the way she responds is to jump outside the bedroom window that she shares with her husband, Philloston. This is not an adequate response because it does not address the underlying issues

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that she has put aside because of lack of resolve to confront the issues of authenticity. It is her tragic flaw and it leads to her perpetual unhappiness. Thus, the first part of the PWI requires the acquisition of both an emotional and rational goodwill. Part of the way we understand and judge characters in novels is based upon this—just as it is in an ethical command of life outside the book covers. The second category in the PWI is coherence. There are two principal categories of worldview coherence: deductive and inductive. Deductive coherence is all about not engaging in any contradictory statements at the same connected time frame in the same sense. When we hear about the philosophy of Mr. Brocklehurst in Jane Eyre as he addresses potential clients of his girls’ school, Lowood, he spouts a program of progressive education.19 But in reality he runs a dystopian horror house based upon fear and punishment. The disparity between these two positions constitutes deductive incoherence. All instances of hypocritical characters are instances of deductive incoherence.20 Inductive incoherence occurs when the agent fails to choose between two contradictory paths (the so-called sure-loss contract in probability gaming theory)—and as a result tries to have both. For example, in Jane Eyre, Mr. Rochester wants to entertain a romantic interest in Jane while at the same time maintaining a wife (albeit who is incapacitated). These two interests cannot be carried out at the same time in the social era in which they are living. To attempt doing so creates a sure-loss contract (which gives the novel its sensational appeal).21 But the connection to deductive and inductive logic takes on an additional meaning within the logic of fictive narrative philosophy when we seek to apply it more broadly. What this means is that in our day-to-day use of logic we rely on rather basic principles such as not involving ourselves in overt contradictions within the very same context. This can be understood very basically in narrative form like this:

Sue, “You told me, John, that you went to the bowling league last night.” “Yes, that’s right,” said John as he coughed and spit up something green in his handkerchief. “Oh, yeah? Then why did Mary Lou Sue text me that the team had to change things drastically so that the match could not be finished because they were shorthanded? Were you the shorthand? Mary Lou said all of the rest of the men were there. Where were you during your so-called bowling league time?” Figure 5.1 A Discussion Between Sue and John Concerning Logical Coherence

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In this sample situation, the principle of non-contradiction: ~ (p and ~p) is assumed. If John were at the bowling match, then the match would have been finished. The match was not finished because of a shortage of team members. All the other team members were there. Therefore, John is not telling the truth that he was at the bowling alley for his league. Coherence theory of truth is an essential part of the logic of fictive narrative philosophy as we explore this second part of the PWI. This is especially true in stories that contain mysteries to be solved within or stories that are told by unreliable narrators. For the mystery component, one of the most reliable externalist means for revealing the truth is by showing an inconsistency. Then either the reader or a central character uses this to advance the plot. In Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express, there are so many inconsistencies that no one’s version of events stands and the entire cadre of suspects are all guilty!22 In the case of the unreliable narrator (generally in second-person narrations in which the narrator is a minor character in the story—like Nick Carraway in The Great Gatsby),23 the reader uses the preponderance of other events to abductively set out a plausible reconstruction of events. This text views abduction as inference to the best explanation via probability theory generated from the available evidence. This is a controversial position.24 So, if the narrator says that Gatsby was invincible but then we discover an area of vulnerability concerning Daisy Buchanan through her husband, Tom’s, jealousy, then we must conclude that either the narrator was ignorant or that he was deceiving us (perhaps because of his own regard for Jay Gatsby). It is the preponderance of evidence that makes the difference and allows us to imagine a new perspective on the situation. I’m going to call this process “abduction.” It is an important component to understanding and applying the logic of fictive narrative philosophy from the second component of the PWI. The third part of the PWI is connection to a theory of the good. No particular theory is given preference, but there must be some coherent and complete moral order presented as a backdrop for the narrative presentation. In many ways this is the most important criterion of the four respecting the logic of fictive narrative philosophy. This is because the structuring of a normative universe is the single most important point in whether we, as audience members, feel comfortable residing there. What does it mean to feel comfortable? Is it visiting a region that is just like everything we all experience right now? Generally not for most: That’s boring. Most of us seek literature to stretch ourselves in order to go forward to a possible place of growth and positive change. This coincides with the so-called Aristotelian principle that claims that only pursuing the most intellectually challenging daily habits and longterm life plan will lead to a flourishing soul. If entering a normative universe and imaginatively pretending residence there fits along these

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lines in causing us first to examine the new space and then to compare it with our old space, then we have an overview of the logic of fictive narrative philosophy: It connects us to an existential self-improvement program. Fiction transports us to a new possible world that has a normative structure. This novel structure is either pleasing as it resonates with our personal worldview in a dialectical back-and-forth or it isn’t. Either reaction elicits our bouncing back to our own reality in such a way that either we think the new offering is better (and therefore on some novel level that entices us to strive to go there) or it is worse (and therefore something to watch out for lest our own reality become corrupted in the future). I characterize this part of the logic as follows:25

The Way We Confront Novel Normative Fictive Worlds Overview and Justification Stage One CONSIDERING THE THEORY

When we consider a normative universe from a fictive example (the small: poems, cases, thought experiments—to the large: novels, movies, plays), we are compelled to consider both its justification and our understanding of its application. Both need to be considered (i.e., the kind of world that would be created if we accepted the theory that underscores this possible world). One must ask the question right here whether the fictive presentation is so fanciful that it can never find its way back to being relevant to the perceived world the viewer/reader lives in. This often happens.26 What we need instead is a possible world in which the global facts and values are tenable in the mundane world we all inhabit. Otherwise, we are engaged in utopia, which is sanctioned by the fourth part of the PWI. If the sojourn to the fictive world is sufficiently interesting in these ways, we create a favorable overview of the theory. This prompts more careful, formal analysis (via the rational and emotional goodwill).

JUSTIFYING THE CLAIM (POINT OF CONTENTION)

In direct discourse philosophy, we justify the theory via deductive logic by testing the theory on its own terms for logical validity, soundness, and cogency. We justify the fictive presentation via abductive logic if it suggests probable solutions to certain resident problems in our own world in such a way that this new presentation seems to be a more likely account (“truer” than that under Figure 5.2 The Way We Confront Novel Normative Fictional Worlds

which we live).27 Finally, we turn to the emotional goodwill and ask whether we have level-sympathy with the characters presented. This is similar to the conditions that Aristotle cites in Chapter 13 of Poetics about the most effective plot. As we engage with the fictive narrative, we bring in the sum of our experience with the plot, character, physical detail, and the way they all come together to suggest community and personal worldviews.28 If the experience by individual audience members demonstrates that the narrative work passes these tests, we move to Stage Two.

Dialectical Understanding Stage Two REFLECTING ON OUR OWN WORLDVIEW

When we entertain our experience with the new worldview presented to us in the story, movie, or play, then our own worldview (with all its various components, including our metaphysical, epistemological, ethical, and personal convictions and judgments) comes into play.29 Because the premise of this exercise is that the fictive presentation offers exploration into a new worldview, the disparity between the two worldviews will cause some cognitive dissonance. This leads the reader or audience member to first bring forth her own worldview for inspection before comparing it to the novel presentation.

COMPARING OUR WORLDVIEW TO THE NEW THEORY

This involves an interaction between the two stages. We have just been intellectually and emotionally moved by the fictive presentation to willingly suspend our disbelief in the proffered worldview presented to us in the work of art. We have inhabited the realm until the story was concluded. What now?

UNDERSTANDING THE THEORY

From this comparison, one of three things will happen: (a) Coinciding and Amplification: The worldview model presented by the fictive narrative and one’s own worldview will coincide and the model will enhance one’s worldview by giving it additional structure and affirmation; (b) Dissonance and Rejection: The model and one’s worldview will be far apart and we will reject the model (in this case we may return to Justifying the Theory for a time and then possibly onto Stage Three—although complete theory rejection is more likely); and (c) Worldview Overlap and Modification: The model and one’s worldview will not be identical, but there is at least some consonance so that one continues a more complicated examination that will identify anomalies in either the themes suggested by the story (in which case we may modify our interpretation of the fictive narrative’s themes so that we might find a way to understand them so that they Figure 5.2 (Continued)

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resonate positively or we give up after trying and reject it). Another possibility is that we confront deficiencies in our worldview (in which case we modify our worldview because of the presented theme—assuming we are seekers of truth). In many cases, Worldview Overlap and Modification will cause us to move to Stage Three.

Stage Three DIALECTICAL INTERACTION

This stage is a rather long process of dialectical interaction between the agent’s worldview and the theory shown to the audience through the story (including all constructional devices). As in Hegelian dialectic, both poles cannot be viewed simpliciter, but only mediately through the other at the same time. As we progress through these dialectical moments, we observe a modification of the theory and worldview that dynamically occurs until equilibrium is achieved. The result is a transformation in which both the novel position and the old worldview are discarded. In their place is a new amalgam that owes its origins to the generating poles, but like any offspring, although it may display various family resemblances, it is its own entity.30

RESOLUTION

The resolution of dialectical interaction excited by the overlap and modification phase is that we alter our personal worldview. This plays out on a continuum. At the left-hand pole are small changes—such as a new appreciation for some small, but significant issue in our personal understanding of facts or values. At the right-hand pole are major changes in our personal understanding of facts or values. These are recognized by the individual first as an audience member (reader or viewer) and then internalized by the individual as a living agent in the world. When many readers react in the same way, the shared community worldview can alter, as well (a collection of many individual changes). Figure 5.2 (Continued)

Let’s examine two mini-narrative examples to better understand how this process works. Because Coinciding and Amplification is not problematic, there is no need for an example here. In Dissonance and Rejection, the best example is Zeno’s paradoxes of motion.31 To the ancient Greeks these are powerful arguments that, if accepted, would imply that our empirical sensations (that report to us that there is motion in the world) are false. If motion is false, and our senses are mistaken, then the sources of knowing and what is good would lie elsewhere.

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Did the ancients simply accept Zeno’s argument and agree that “what is” consists of a motionless and static One? The answer is largely, “No!” Why is this? The reason is that when confronted with a theory that describes or prescribes propositions that are different from our worldview, we act cautiously. The inclination in Dissonance and Rejection is to reject the new theory. The most obvious way to do this is to provide an internal refutation. But in the ancient world this was not so easy. Indeed, it was not until the development of transfinite numbers and the resultant application of transfinite sums (in the latter nineteenth and early twentieth centuries) that Zeno’s paradoxes were refuted.32 But even in the ancient world there were attempts at dealing with infinitesimals through the theory of exhaustion. As Ian Mueller points out, Euclid XII. 2 suggests the groundwork for such a theory that was also used to “square the circle.”33 The point is that though many thinkers could not come up with an adequate refutation of Zeno, they did not simply accept Zeno either. The reason for this is that Zeno’s theory and the consequences it suggested did not accommodate their fuller worldview. This larger picture suggested that though one could not come up with an adequate argument to prove Zeno wrong, still one was not prepared to accept the theory, either. In the literary realm, one might look at Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, 1872 (that set out an exploration of lesbians within the genre of a vampire novel—though the result is rather mixed). Also, Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Grey (1890) in which some themes of being gay are raised—though like Carmilla—it had to have at least a guise as a cautionary tale. The framing here is complicated, but it is my opinion that these authors wanted to explore being gay, but they didn’t want to go to jail for it. However, among sympathizers they were providing a veiled claim that there is another sexual orientation out there and that it deserves attention. The veiling that goes on is because the authors expect dissonance and rejection by the mainstream straight community. Again with African American novelists such as Richard Wright’s Native Son, James Baldwin’s Go Tell It on the Mountain, Toni Morrison’s Beloved, Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, and Charles Johnson’s Middle Passage, these tales brought high levels of anger against the writers by the mainstream European descent community. Dissonance and Rejection was often the first response.34 Now, some might argue that Dissonance and Rejection will lead to blind prejudice. A person hears a logically persuasive fictive narrative position and though he cannot come up with a rejoinder, he will, nonetheless, reject the theory.

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Descriptively I believe this to be true.35 Much of the work over the past 65 years on so-called revolutions in the history of science documents that theory changes do not come easily.36 In fact, Hilary Putnam has suggested that the more reasonable approach to a theory replacement situation is to “fix” the old theory rather than adopt a new one.37 This is because without proven anomalies in the existing theory (in our case the subject’s worldview), there is no reason to change. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is the adage. Dissonance and Rejection describes a situation in which one is inclined to remain in his existing worldview even when confronted with a logically sound argument. Does this mean that the dynamics of Dissonance and Rejection are always arbitrary and prejudicial? I don’t think so. There are some touchstones of value that are independent of the proposition at hand. These touchstones come from our other core values. For example, in the case of Zeno’s paradox, one may have a core value in a realist, externalist epistemology that is offended by Zeno’s contention that empirical data are somehow illusions. Still another person may have a core value in religion. In this situation let us imagine a Jewish philosopher who believed that his G-d was not a trickster. Thus, it would be impossible (given that belief) for G-d to create an intricate set of illusions meant to test humankind’s faith. A third person might be a devoted artist whose mission in life is to imitate nature for the purpose of conveying truth (along the correspondence theory of truth). If nature, itself, were merely an elaborate ruse, then his entire stock of values would be wholly misplaced. In each of these three cases, it is the core values of the adherent that serve as a check upon untenable theories (such as Zeno’s contention that the appearance of physical separateness and movement is an illusion that should be doubted) and occasion the reaction of Dissonance and Rejection. It is also possible that an irrationally based value comes into play that most would judge to be evil. For example, say a Nazi were to address some maxim concerning the universal rights of all humans, e.g., “All humans have the right to their basic goods of agency against their society and the world community in virtue of Kant’s categorical imperatives.” The Nazi says, “This is crap. I won’t buy this. Jews and Gypsies are a scourge on our Fatherland; they must be eliminated!” “But upon what do you base such an opinion?” asks the character in a fictive narrative. “It’s what I’ve always believed. Ask anyone else; they believe it, too.” “But what is the alternate core value that is being violated by the principle of universal human rights?” “Are you kidding? It’s that these Jews and Gypsies are a scourge on our Fatherland. Haven’t you been listening?”

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“But where does that value come from?” “I don’t know. From my parents, friends—the Sittlichkeit; don’t you know? Where else?” What position does this put us in? Well, it is an anti-realist ethical position based upon cultural relativism (of the ruling Nazi party). This would not be acceptable to those outside this cultural context. If one were an ethical anti-realist, there would be no way out of the Nazi position. Like all ethical relativist positions, it devolves into who has the most power in some macro community (such as a nation). But we need not stop at the might makes right inference of the ethical anti-realists. In their stead we have the Personal Worldview Imperative that can universally evaluate worldviews. If they are complete, coherent, and good, then they are approved. But in the foregoing example, they are not. When one presses on why these groups are a scourge, she is left vacant. There is no consistent reason aside from anecdotal fabrications (e.g., the Jews are stealing all the money from our country or the Gypsies are kidnapping children and drinking their blood). It seems to me that, for the most part, such pretenders to legitimate Dissonance and Rejection are often, in fact, easily depicted illogical shams.38 The logic of fiction has a valuable role to play here. For example, in most plots and character depictions there are contradictions displayed in (e.g.) two possibilities, x and y, that if we take the bulk of evidence presented in the story, there is more reason to believe x than y (based upon fewer contradictions and more corroborating instances). Or when a narrator tells us something that contradicts what has previously been presented, we come to doubt the narrator’s judgment.39 When there is some connection between the presented theory and the worldview of the person considering the novel theory of good, then the interplay of Worldview Overlap and Modification and Stage Three dialectical interaction becomes possible. A good example of this can be found in the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. When one confronts the popular press, we get the historical perspective that Dr. King was trying to get white America to accept that African Americans were living under oppressive Jim Crow laws in the South and vicious de facto apartheid in the North. His enormous task was to alter the shared community worldview and thereby create theory acceptance for racial equality. This was not an easy task. When we view this narrative from the novel (as in Charles Johnson’s Dreamer),40 then we encounter a man who bridged the two worldviews of black and white America. On the side of black America, King (like his father before him) ministered daily to the victims of racial oppression. On the white side, King was a Christian minister (the principal religion of white America) and a Ph.D. in divinity from Boston University (white America respects those

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educated in its own institutions). In this way Dr. King had enough commonalities with white America that when white people turned on the evening news and saw peaceful African American protesters signing Christian hymns dressed as if they were going to church while, at the same time, being beaten by police, knocked down by fire hoses, and attacked by fierce police dogs—the television watchers were confronted with cognitive dissonance. On the one hand, they honored the police and the white power structure that ruled the nation—because that’s the way it always had been. On the other hand, they sang the same hymns in church each Sunday as these non-violent black protesters about a peaceful God who loves all people. Who did they want to identify with: peaceful black folk or overzealous white policemen bent on cruelty?41 Their own personal worldviews dictated the former. Their own personal worldviews said that Dr. King’s logical argument for racial equality was valid. This was a real-life story that was being played out on the black and white television screens before them. But it took the Stage Three dialectical process occasioned by worldview overlap and modification for any real progress to be made in the actual acceptance of King’s ideas. And though the struggle for racial equality isn’t over by a long way, most people who lived through that era would agree that Dr. King, over time, won over a majority of white America on many (though not all) points of contention. The process of theory acceptance depended upon more than a strong logical argument for its justification. It also required the dialectical interactions brought about by worldview overlap and modification. This process of overlap and modification in Charles Johnson’s book also took the form of there being two Martin Luther Kings: the authentic one and a double to foil assassination attempts.42 This fits in with the dual roles that anyone must adopt—in literature and in real life—in order to change someone. It is the contention of my argument that the foregoing process of overlap and modification constitutes the way we actually accept novel normative theories. Certainly, there is a stage of deductive, inductive, and abductive argumentation. But then there is the inevitable sorting of those predisposed to be in favor of the novel theory (coinciding and amplification) and those predisposed to be against (dissonance and rejection).43 When either of these alternatives results, then the existing worldview and not the argument at hand decides whether the agent will accept the theory put before him or not. In the vast majority of cases this is the end of the story. But there is also that glimmer of hope that the purveyor of the new theory can find enough common ground to initiate the sort of dialectical worldview interactions that Dr. King was able to initiate and was set out as such by Charles Johnson’s novel.44 So what does this tell us about justification in ethics and the natural desire to be good? Simply this:

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Argument 5.1: A Summary of the Logic of Accepting Novel Normative Theories 1. People naturally want to be good—A[ssertion]45 2. Good has many meanings which are both functional and normative—F[act] 3. Each person lives within a personal and a community worldview—A 4. The personal and community worldviews bring with them definitions of good both functionally and normatively—F 5. All things being equal, each person’s understanding of what it means to be good is defined by her personal and community worldviews— 1–4 6. When novel theories of good are presented via narrative, they should be consistent with sound deductive, inductive, and abductive arguments—A 7. For most people the inertia of their existing worldviews will override all other considerations in their normative judging of characters, plot, and resolution via the response of coinciding and amplification or dissonance and rejection—A 8. For most people the presentation of a fictive situation that is consistent with sound deductive, inductive, and abductive arguments is necessary though not sufficient to justify accepting the novel normative theory set out in the presentation of characters, plot, and resolution—5–7 9. The fictive narrative must suggest a reconstruction of sound deductive, inductive, and abductive arguments which need to exhibit the property of being understandable, plausible, and probable as well as being deductively logically sound—A 10. The properties of being understandable, plausible, and probable requires empirical content provided by the narrative’s characterization, plot, and resolution so that one might project that theory into her individual and community worldviews for comparison—A 11. Fictive narrative provides empirical detail created by the writer who plays upon her/his own experience of the world (this is to be understood as constructed empiricism)—F 12. Fictive narrative must be consistent with sound deductive, inductive, and abductive arguments and provide adequate constructed empirical content in order that they might be projected into individual and community worldviews for comparison—9, 10, 11 13. Being able to project a novel normative theory into one’s individual and community worldviews allows one (by worldview overlap and modification) to examine dialectically the novel theory of good as presented by the narrative—A 14. Dialectical examination, occasioned by worldview overlap and modification, holistically and uniquely engages the individual—A

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15. Only by holistic engagement will one authentically and sincerely embrace a novel theory of an alternate personal or community worldview [set out as comparatively better]—A 16. Being able to project a novel theory of good into one’s individual and community worldview via fictive narrative allows one to engage in a unique, holistic process that permits authentic and sincere acceptance of a novel theory of good—13–15 17. To authentically and sincerely embrace a novel theory about good [understood here as a comparatively better personal or community worldview], the agent must be presented with a sound deductive, inductive, or abductive logical argument with sufficient constructed empirical content that allows it to be projected into the agent’s personal and community worldviews in such a way that it stimulates a holistic dialectical interaction according to worldview overlap and modification—8, 12, 16 Argument 5.1 presents what I believe to be the operation of the logic of fictive narrative philosophy and the mechanics of how it intends to persuade. After all, I have set out in Chapter 3 that the communication flow in fictive narrative philosophy is modeled on that of direct discourse philosophy. What I have set out in Argument 5.1 is the nature of the resolution phase. It is here where the audience member accepts or rejects the worldview of the story. Under this account each person assesses the facts and values about the world and how they are arranged as constructed by the author and then assesses whether they are at some level true. Now, of course, we don’t get to the true unless the story is compelling (see Chapter 1).

The Logic of the Shared Community Worldview Imperative When we transition from the standpoint of the individual to the standpoint of the individual situated in a variety of community settings, we must set out some fundamental assumptions. First, is the shared community worldview imperative, “Each agent must contribute to a common body of knowledge that supports the creation of a shared community worldview (that is itself complete, coherent, and good) through which social institutions and their resulting policies might flourish within the constraints of the essential core commonly held values (ethics, aesthetics, and religion).”46

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This imperative also has five parts. First, is agent contribution. Each agent must become active members of the community. This means that members of a community have responsibilities to be active members. One cannot ethically shift this responsibility completely to others. Even in communities in which there are elected officials, each person in the community has an obligation periodically to check to see whether she thinks the community is doing what it says it is doing and whether what it says it is doing is proper policy (meaning here that it is supportive of human rights within the community). When either of those conditions is not being met, members of the community have an obligation to engage whatever institutional mechanisms of protest and change are open to them. The second criterion is the reference to the common body of knowledge, which represents what is accepted to be good, true, and beautiful about the world (see the foregoing discussion in this section). Many communities (especially most macro communities) are diverse. To create acceptance within a community, it is necessary to recognize both the moral and non-moral character of these differences. Because natural human rights depend upon justice and morality, it is important to differentiate these outcomes. Sometimes the moral and the non-moral become confused. In these situations one must refer back to the personal worldview and the relevant theory of ethics that have been embraced in order to separate an ethical from a non-ethical practice.47 It is easy to be prejudicial against what is new or unfamiliar, but when the unfamiliar is merely different and non-ethical, then the common body of knowledge must expand to accommodate it. However, when the unfamiliar is immoral, then the common body of knowledge should give direction for the proper way to exclude such an input to the community (e.g., the Ku Klux Klan, a terrorist white supremacist cult).48 The third criterion of the shared-community worldview imperative describes common traits shared by the Personal Worldview Imperative: complete, coherent, and connected to a theory of good. As per our discussion of the common body of knowledge, these pivotal criteria allow the members of the community to evaluate new members to the community so that they might be accepted or not. But these evaluations must be in terms of the three criteria and not from some reading of religious or cultural exclusivism. New doesn’t necessarily mean bad (as per the fifth criterion, discussed subsequently). The fourth criterion enjoins that the creation of social institutions occurs within the guidelines set out by the imperative. The way communities act is via the operation of social and political institutions that represent the worldview of the micro or macro group. It is important that the

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institutions that are so created actually represent the sense of the shared worldviews of the group’s members (with the proviso that this vision is subject to change based upon non-moral input of different cultural traditions). It is certainly possible for an institution to be created that loses its original mission and strays in the way that it operates. When this occurs, it is the community’s responsibility to put the institution back on course (revise it) or eliminate it. This can often happen to a community that is confronted with an input of immigrants. The input of the new, as such, often breeds xenophobia. Finally, the last part of the imperative is an acceptance of the diversity of the community in terms of core values: ethics, aesthetics, and religion. The acceptance of diversity is very important. People are different. Embracing these differences and allowing institutional space for them is morally and practically important if we want to protect natural human rights. Though there is a limit to this acceptance, the default position in the shared-community worldview imperative is that diversity is a pro tanto good and a healthy state of affairs for the micro or macro community. The burden of proof to the contrary is upon those who believe that such behavior is unethical. It is my position that these five aspects of the shared community worldview imperative lay the groundwork for ethical communities. Now, when reading a fictive narrative, we should pay attention to the way the community is presented. If the SCWI (Shared Community Worldview Imperative) is an ethical duty to respect and follow, then when we encounter a world created for us in the fictive narrative that is contrary to this, then we, as critics or readers, must put this into the way we understand the presentation of the claim. In the movie “Lobster” (2016) the existence of the community is what is at stake. On the one hand (in this science fiction film) there is a state-sponsored attempt to get everyone to live in the world as “coupled” or die. There are also renegades who live as individuals in the woods, but they forbid coupling on the same formula—deformation or death. This point of view is characteristic of the extreme communitarians who create an all-encompassing state that determines a set script for everyone. This is oppressive. It is also oppressive at the other end of the spectrum, extreme individualism. This leads to the second point. This concerns how we are to weigh the interests of the individual against those of the community. I have discussed this dynamic before in terms of national distributive justice.49 In short, I think that a balance should be realized between a perspective that is overly individualistic and one that is overly communitarian. However, it should be noted that different societies have various inclinations in this regard.50 Thus, different fictive presentations might be

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viewed favorably or not by these social biases. This can affect how the logic of the fictive narrative presentation works since it is always within a social milieu. Therefore, when we read a fictive narrative, there is, in addition to the principal character(s), an environment in which they live. This environment is very important when judging the philosophical claim made by the work.

The Logical Expectation Level of Fictive Narrative Philosophy The last section of this chapter concerns the aspirational sights for fictive narrative philosophy and how they fit in with their logical apparatus. Now, most direct discourse philosophers have a rather high bar here. As mentioned earlier, they believe that they are social scientists, who aspire to a higher degree of certitude than mere humanities. Some philosophers, such as the logical empiricists, even aspired to an even higher level of certitude: that of the natural sciences—especially mathdominated physics.51 The reason for this is that the methodological tool, deductive logic, aims at absolute certainty. But this leads to a methodological problem. Aristotle recognizes this problem at the beginning of the Posterior Analytics (71a 1): “All teaching (didaskalia) and all learning (mathesis) proceeds out of pre-existing (prouparchouses) knowledge (gnoseos) . . . this is true when we examine both mathematical sciences (epistemon) and every other art (technon). [This is] similarly true with logical arguments both syllogistic and inductive—both utilize instruction by means of facts already recognized . . . this is the same with rhetorical arguments that create conviction by utilizing examples (that act as a kind of induction [epogoge] or enthymeme). These are [alternate] forms of the syllogism.”52 This passage suggests several key points. First, the aspirations of the deductive purists for absolute certainty in any but a purely schematic format is folly and leads to the modern endless rants on defeasibility.53 Instead of this, one should recognize at the outset that aside from purely formal modeling, there will always be messiness in presenting argument in the direct form of discourse (deductive argument). Those pesky preexistent posits are key—even in the simplest arguments. 1. All humans are mortal (capable of death)—F 2. Socrates is a human (properly subsumed as Homo sapiens)—F 3. Socrates is mortal—1, 2

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Argument 5.2: Paradigm for a Simple Deductive Argument How do we know that all humans are mortal? Do we have exhaustive birth and death records for every person ever born on earth? Of course not. What we do have is our experiential sample space. It is incomplete but it can be projected into the premise on the basis of current scientific understanding of how the human body ages.54 Of course, current scientific understanding can be false and replaced with new micro-level or macrolevel principles. The point to be made is simply that in premise #1 there is reliance upon induction in order to ascertain the truth of the premise. Induction is measured via probability theory and this is never certain pace Hume. In practice, results can vary wildly.55 The same is true of premise #2. This may be an easier case for modern science with PCR analysis, but it is still an inductive posit (even though I have called it a “fact”).56 Thus, even though this is an example of a first-figure AAA syllogism using the Aristotelian system, which is always valid, the soundness of the argument depends upon the truth of the premises that, in turn, depends upon rather messier inductive logic. Because the truth of any argument depends upon the veracity of the most controversial posits, this renders all deductive arguments (save for schematic arguments without any empirical content) to be dependent for their veracity upon the weakest link: the premises supported by induction and probability theory. Again, we need to return to the key introductory lines from The Posterior Analytics. Aristotle brings up that, in both deduction and any other sort of persuasion, we are brought back to prior experience that is set out via examples. Yes! Examples are what give credence to the truth of the empirically laden premises presented. Deduction without these is empty nominalism. So, what is the standard of certainty of these examples, and how are they to be evaluated? My answer to this question is plausibility. This harkens back to one understanding of abduction mentioned earlier. For readers encountering a fictive text (and the possible world it reveals), the question to be directed to the artifact interpreted is whether it seems plausible. If so, then the truth conditions are met. The next question is whether the world revealed is enticing. Do we want to live there? Is it an improvement on our own? These are questions that point to the evaluation criteria for fictive narrative philosophy and are the central concern of Chapter 7. Here, we have been concerned with depicting the logical mechanics of storytelling—a device that is used every day by people all over the world to convey what they believe to be essential truths of life. Because truth is also the purview of philosophy, it is here that the origins of fictive narrative philosophy lie. Now, to the work of evaluating how the stories are doing their job.

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Notes 1. Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment, tr. Frederick Whishaw (London: Vizatelly, 1887 [1866]). 2. Various perspectives on this can be found in Charles R. Snyder and Carol E. Ford, eds., Coping With Negative Life Events: Clinical and Social Psychological Episodes (Dordrecht: Springer, 1987) and Sheldon Cohen, Lynn G. Underwood, and Benjamin Gottlieb, eds., Social Support Measurement and Intervention (New York, NY and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000). 3. The New York Times has documented the phenomenon of lottery winners coming undone in their lives. What should be ultimate bliss is severe unhappiness. The most recent of these articles is from January 14, 2016: www. nytimes.com/interactive/2016/01/14/us/lottery-winners-whose-lives-wereruined.html?_r=0 (last accessed on July 1, 2016). Cf. my philosophical novel, The Extinction of Desire (Oxford: Blackwell, 2007). 4. I have written extensively on this. Three key suggestions for readers are: Michael Boylan, A Just Society (New York, NY, and Oxford: Rowman and Littlefield, 2004): ch. 2; ibidem, Morality and Global Justice: Justifications and Applications (Boulder, CO: Westview, 2011): ch. 2; and ibidem, Natural Human Rights: A Theory (Cambridge and New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2014): ch. 6. 5. Plato sets out two grand divisions: the visible and the invisible. Each of these also has two divisions. Plato, who set forth a theory of ideas or forms (eide) that were not tangible, favored the invisible over the visible. See Republic 509d-511e. 6. This sort of public paranoia drove the 2016 U.S. presidential election and also the Brexit movement (which became a reality on June 23, 2016). This also led to the advent of “fake news” on personal websites and Facebook that may have swayed some voters in the election—see www.nytimes.com/2016/11/18/technology/ fake-news-on-facebook-in-foreign-elections-thats-not-new.html and www. washingtonpost.com/news/the-intersect/wp/2016/11/17/facebook-fake-newswriter-i-think-donald-trump-is-in-the-white-house-because-of-me/?utm_ term=.844a7d570374 and www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/ russian-propaganda-effort-helped-spread-fake-news-during- electionexperts-say/2016/11/24/793903b6-8a40-4ca9-b712-716af66098fe_story. html?utm_term=.22695781a06a, cf. http://patch.com/wisconsin/milwaukee/ top-20-fake-news-stories-2016-presidential-election-according-buzzfeedanalysis. 7. Of course, the epistemological anti-realists would say, “Yes.” 8. Of course, the ethical anti-realists would say, “Yes.” For my views on this see Boylan (2011): ch. 1, cf. Michael Boylan, Basic Ethics, 2nd ed. (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2009): 32–35. 9. Boylan,2009: ch. 3. 10. Julie Kirsch says, “No!” See her essay, “When Is Ignorance Morally Objectionable?” in Michael Boylan, ed. The Morality and Global Justice Reader (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2011): 51–64. 11. William Kingdom Clifford, “The Ethics of Belief” in Lectures and Essays, vol. 2 (London: Macmillan & Co., 1901): 163–205. 12. Michael Boylan, A Just Society (New York, NY and Oxford: Rowman and Littlefield, 2004): 21. 13. For a quick discussion of the most important issues here see Ernest Nagel and James R. Newman, Gödel’s Proof, revised edition, edited with a foreword by Douglass R. Hofstadter (New York, NY: New York University Press, 2008).

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14. For a brief discussion on this see N. Gregory Mankiw, Principles of Microeconomics, 7th ed. (Stamford, CT: Cengage, 2014): ch. 21. 15. Michael Boylan, The Origins of Ancient Greek Science: Blood—A Philosophical Study (London: Routledge, 2015): ch. 3. 16. Thomas Hardy, Jude the Obscure (London: James R. Osgood, McLLvaine & amp; Co., 1896). 17. For readers who want to read my analysis of this relationship within Jude the Obscure in more depth, see my review blog in michaelboylan.net. 18. Michael Boylan, A Just Society (New York and Oxford: Rowman and Littlefield, 2004): 30–40; Michael Boylan, Morality and Global Justice: Justifications and Applications (Boulder, CO: Westview, 2011[now available from Routledge): 26, 34, 47; Michael Boylan, Natural Human Rights: A Theory (New York and Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014): 175. 19. Charlotte Brontë, Jayne Eyre (London: Smith, Elder, & Co., 1847). 20. Literature is full of these—in fact, they are the grist of many instances of hypocrites (deductive incoherence) from the many instances of Moliere and le comédie-Français: Each of these relies upon our innate understanding of the falsity of deductive incoherence to make their point. In American Literature, Sinclair Lewis’s Elmer Gantry is a prominent example of this. 21. A “sure-loss contract” in the language of probability theory (inductive logic) means that the so-called betting house will under certain conditions ensure their failure. For example, if there were a sporting event between two teams, x and y, then if the betting house were to offer positive odds on both teams, they would become bankrupt. This is the essence of a sure-loss contract. 22. Agatha Christie, Murder on the Orient Express (London: Collins, 1934). 23. F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby (New York, NY: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1925). 24. I want to make it clear that Charles Saunders Peirce did not elevate probability as I have. He has been variously interpreted as putting forth abduction as inference to the best explanation, hypothetical inference, inference to new explanation, and as a guessing instinct. For an overview discussion of Peirce’s approach see Chihab El Khachab, “The Logical Goodness of Abduction in C.S. Peirce’s Thought” Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 49.2 (2013): 157–177. My approach is closer to Stephen Biggs, “Abduction and Modality” Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 83.2 (2011): 283– 326. This is just an interpretation of one possible understanding of abduction. 25. Cf. Boylan (2004): ch. 1. 26. I call such instances the “thought experiment fallacy” in which one seeks to extend the facts about a possible world in order to make a particular point and then (without any justification) to apply them to the world we actually live in. This is a fallacy because it discounts the effects of the boundary conditions on outcomes. 27. “Truer” is relative to abductive logic, which is situated under the pragmatic theory of truth. 28. Both the personal and shared community worldviews have a normative character set out in the Personal Worldview Imperative and the shared community worldview imperative; see Boylan (2016): ch. 6. 29. For personal convictions I am primarily thinking about aesthetic and/or religious beliefs and judgments we may hold. These may, of course, follow from our metaphysical, epistemological, and ethical positions. 30. This entity may exhibit more traits of one or the other progenitor. Just because the offspring is born of dialectic does not mean there is equal mixing. 31. The four paradoxes of motion can be found in Aristotle: (a) The Stadium— Phys. Z9, 233a 21ff; Topics 160b7ff.; (b) The Achilles—Phys. Z9 239b 14ff;

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33.

34.

35.

36. 37.

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(c) The Flying Arrow—Phys. Z9 239b 30ff.; (d) The Moving Rows—Phys. Z9 239b 33. See especially Gwilym E.L. Owen, “Zeno and the Mathematicians” Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 58 (1957–58): 199–222; James F. Thomson, “Tasks and Super-Tasks” Analysis 15 (1954): 1–13; Gregory Vlastos, “A Note on Zeno’s Arrow” Phronesis 11 (1966): 3–18; Gregory Vlastos, “Zero’s Race Course” Journal of the History of Philosophy 4 (1966): 95–108; James Watling, “The Sum of an Infinite Series” Analysis 13 (1953): 39ff. Ian Mueller, Philosophy of Mathematics and Deductive Structure in Euclid’s ‘Elements’ (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1981): 234; cf. T.L. Heath, “Greek Geometry with Special Reference to Infinitesimals,” The Mathematical Gazette 11 (1922–23): 248–259, Simplicius, Commentary on Aristotle’s Physics, ed. H. Diets, 2 vols. (Berlin: G. Reimeri 1882, 1895). Simplicius gives an account of Antiphon’s reasoning on page 54.2–55.8. Richard Wright, Native Son (New York, NY: Harper Brothers, 1940); James Baldwin, Go Tell It on the Mountain (New York, NY: Knopf, 1953); Toni Morrison, Beloved (New York, NY: Knopf, 1984); Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (New York, NY: Random House, 1969); Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man (New York, NY: Random House, 1952); Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God (Philadelphia, PA: J.P. Lippincott, 1942); and Charles Johnson, Middle Passage (New York, NY: Atheneum, 1990). It is my opinion that prejudice is unfortunately a very real fact of Homo sapiens’ behavior. This does not mean that I condone it in any way. It does mean that it is not surprising that there is so much prejudice that exists all over the world. From the United States, to the Congo, to Cambodia, the history of the world reflects this prejudice. What we must therefore do, as moral thinkers, is to think of ways to alleviate this natural inclination. The only hope for change is in the mode of overlap and modification. The classic example, of course is Thomas S. Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, 2nd ed. (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1970). Hilary Putnam, “The ‘Corroboration’ of Theories from the Library of Living Philosophers” in Paul A. Schilpp, ed. The Philosophy of Karl Popper, vol. xiv (LaSalle, IL: Open Court, 1974): 221–240. Putnam is arguing against Popper’s thesis in The Logic of Scientific Discovery by discussing the actual behavior of scientists when Uranus’s orbit was found to be incorrect (before the discovery of Neptune). This behavior was directed at modifying existing theories rather than discarding them. Thus, the goal of “all or nothing” does not describe the way scientists act. Again, at the writing of this book there are instances of “fake news” that arise from some individual’s blog that gets cited on social media. Thousands of people read and naively accept such stories as true. One prominent example of this was the false Comet Ping-Pong Pizza case in which it was falsely reported on a blog and social media that presidential candidate Hilary Clinton created a sex ring in the basement of this northwest Washington, D.C., restaurant in which she raped countless teens and sold them into sex slavery. Reading this story, a man from North Carolina came up with a gun to save the children. He fired shots in the restaurant and emptied the place. He found no hidden basement (the restaurant is built upon a slab). And yet, even after all his searching, he still believed that the sex ring was there and the story was true. This despite the empirical evidence to the contrary. It is difficult to know what to say about such consumers of false news except that they violate both the “completeness” and “coherence” criteria of the Personal Worldview Imperative via a failure to create a rational goodwill and engaging in rational incoherence. For more

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39. 40. 41.

42. 43. 44. 45.

46. 47. 48.

49. 50. 51.

52. 53.

The Structure of the New Paradigm on this story see www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/after-comet-pingpong-and-pizzagate-teachers-tackle-fake-news/2016/12/11/cc19d604-bd9911e6-91ee-1adddfe36cbe_story.html?utm_term=.0fd02fe85a3e and www. nytimes.com/2016/11/21/technology/fact-check-this-pizzeria-is-not-a-childtrafficking-site.html. The so-called unreliable narrator was coined by Wayne C. Booth in his book The Rhetoric of Fiction (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1961). Charles Johnson, Dreamer (New York, NY: Scribner, 1999). At the writing of this book, this is still a hot-button issue as a number of prominent instances of white police have brutalized and killed unarmed black (usually) males—see https://thinkprogress.org/this-is-how-many-peoplepolice-have-killed-so-far-in-2016-7f1aec6b7098#.1fqxvu8yw. Charles Johnson (1999). There is also, of course, those who properly use dissonance and rejection as in the earlier example involving Zeno’s paradoxes. This is also the model of Plato’s depiction of Socrates as well as most other philosophers who have chosen the dialogue form to express their philosophy. This fundamental assumption is at the heart of my personhood theory as set out in Boylan, (2004), Boylan (2011), and Boylan (2014). The essence is that the nature of purposive action is that we seek to perform what we want to do, and we would not choose an end that we did not think (at the very least) was prudentially good for us. Boylan (2014): 172. It is important to distinguish a non-ethical (non-moral) practice from an unethical (immoral) practice. The former does not concern ethics, whereas the latter is judged to be wrong by some theory of ethics. Of course, there are harder cases. At the writing of this book, the presidentelect of the United States, Donald Trump, has courted the so-called alternative-right (or alt-right), which uses indirect language expressions to put forth a white supremacist, anti-Semitic message—see: www.thenation.com/article/ alt-right-is-not-a-thing-its-white-supremacy/. Boylan (2004): 130–132. For an example of this see Boylan (2014): ch. 2–3. The logicist hypothesis is really one of the many exercises in epistemological/ metaphysical reductionism that put great weight upon abstract origins of reasoning to mathematics and then to logic. A major work that set out this goal was Alfred North Whitehead and Bertrand Russell, Principia Mathematica, 3 vols (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, vol 1 (1910), vol. 2 (1912), vol. 3 (1913)). The many difficulties of this position are set out by Stewart Shapiro, ed. The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Math and Logic (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005) and a more narrow account by Crispin Wright, Frege’s Conception of Numbers as Objects (Aberdeen: Aberdeen University Press, 1983). My tr. There are many strains of discussion on defeasibility ranging from artificial intelligence issues to problems with inductive arguments. For a good background on the point I am trying to make here see John Pollock, “Defeasible Reasoning” Cognitive Science 11 (1987): 481–518 and expanded in his book Cognitive Carpentry (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1995). Because in reactions to narrative we are engaged in the shared community worldview, Bas van Frassen has a relevant essay “Fine-grained Opinion, Probability, and the Logic of Folk Belief” Journal of Philosophical Logic 24 (1995): 349–377. For an overview of boundary conditions see Angelo Gilio, “Probabilistic Logic

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Under Coherence, Conditional Interpretations, and Default Reasoning” Synthese 146 (2005): 139–152. 54. On “projectibility” here I’m thinking of the argument by Nelson Goodman, Fact, Fiction, and Forecast (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1955): chs. 3–4. 55. For an example of this see Boylan and Brown (2002), ch. 3. 56. In my common language deductive system, “fact” means agreement between speaker and audience and nothing more. See Boylan (2009): introduction.

6

Constructional Devices

What better way to understand a work from the inside out than to examine the way it was constructed? If one were to examine a table, one might look at the wood chosen, the joints and how they were executed, the use of glue, nails, and other connecting devices, and finally the way it was finished (planed and sanded in a particular way and then topped off with a stain and lacquer especially chosen for this project). These would be the constructional devices that would help the master cabinetmaker to execute the vision he had in mind in the creation of a table. Any thorough evaluation of the table as an artifact should include reference to the constructional devices of cabinetry. The same strategy holds true for understanding fictive narrative philosophy. The constructional devices at play here are as follows: (1) A plot-driven narrative, (2) A character-driven narrative, (3) Physical description, (4) Dialogue, and (5) Narrative voice in expressing and executing the point of contention.1 These are the constructional devices that I concentrate on. Other accounts may offer a different set of categories, but these are the ones I have chosen to use. So here we go.

Ontology and Epistemology of the Chosen Fictive Universe Before we delve into these constructional devices, I want to make one further meta-distinction about the global intention of the fictive author. This concerns what he or she intends to create. Is the artifact supposed to be a naturalistic depiction of the world as it appears to be to most people who accept it in their common body of knowledge?2 The common body of knowledge has rather messy borders. For example, at the writing of this book there are some in my home country, the United States, who disagree upon basic science as set out among the academic research community (a) concerning global climate change and (b) whether common childhood vaccines will cause autism.3 The thrust of the deniers of science in these two instances (and others) is that they contend that there are multiple social groups of scientists who, for their own interests, create radically

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incorrect theories in order to gain grants or simply to hoodwink the public because they have a distain for the hoi polloi. Many of these in the hoi polloi feel disrespected by the mighty scientists who hail from ivory tower institutions. Thus, they not only mistrust them, but also feel an injustice at the hands of these individuals who are employed at elite institutions vs. their own personal mundane existences. This is obviously a complicated problem that would require expertise in sociology and social psychology. These are not my areas of expertise, but the challenge to the common body of knowledge should be noted. Thus, coming back to a so-called realistic understanding of the common body of knowledge is not so simple. If we want to poll the “intelligentsia,” we may get a different set of données than we would get from those with less education. This is a problem because it means that the entire critical structure set out will be more or less applicable to different sociological groups according to education and life experience.4 Even given all these hurdles to setting out a common body of knowledge that represents what most people understand to be factually and normatively true about their daily existence, I believe at some level it still makes sense. If someone were to claim that green creatures with giant noses were invading the country, most would find their understanding of the common body of knowledge as challenged. At the more modest level, I believe that there is general agreement about many propositions describing our life on earth: Newton’s laws of gravity fit most of our daily experience of life, and most of us agree that lying, cheating, exploitation, and murder are wrong. I set out the possibilities translating this to storytelling on a continuum. x_________________________________x___________________________________x Realistic

Manneristic

Alteristic

Figure 6.1 The Ontology of the Fictive Presentation

For those authors who want to write within the umbrella of the common body of knowledge in an imitative way (at least for the execution of the story), they will be within the first-order metaphysical understanding of naturalism that I depict as realistic.5 As “realistic” the author takes it upon herself to depict the world as she assesses most other people do (who accept that version of the common body of knowledge). Because of this, most readers (who also accept the common body of knowledge in the same way as the author) would understand that the view of the world depicted is real: the way it is actually understood to be. This presupposes a correspondence theory of truth.6 This is the way most stories are told. But not all stories. Another way that the storyteller can engage her audience is via a somewhat exaggerated view of the common body of knowledge. Because

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it is still recognizable, I call this approach mannerism.7 Some stories, such as Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man,8 are of this genre. Ellison employs a vision of the common body of knowledge, but then stretches the narrator’s response in his underground lair to a point that distorts to a degree what might be actually possible (i.e., to live under the streets of New York City—invisibly). Another example might be Iris Murdoch’s The Flight from the Enchanter.9 The principle foil, Mischa Fox, is stretched beyond the ordinary so that the various hunting motifs in the book (Artemis, Hunter Keepe, et al.) give it a surreal quality—Mischa, the fox, is really the hunter with extraordinary power. He is no object of an English foxhunt! A third example comes from the genre of magical realism. In this genre (which I take to include the work of South American writers such as Gabriel Garcia Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude; Isabel Allende, The House of Spirits; Laura Esquivel, Like Water for Chocolate; Indian writer Salman Rushdie, Midnight’s Children; American writer Toni Morrison, Beloved; and German writer, Günter Grass, The Tin Drum),10 the authors generally set out a narrative within the common body of knowledge, but then at one or more crucial points make an exception that often is critical in resolving the conflict toward an unexpected resolution. Thus, I take mannerism in this context to have its origins in the naturalism of the common body of knowledge, but it then varies from realism in one or more key données. These variances draw attention to themselves because they stand out against the rest of the presentation that is within the realistic common body of knowledge. Finally, at the far end of the continuum is what I call alteristic (not to be confused with altruistic). The alterist is an author who takes mannerism one step further to a point where it becomes a difference in kind. When either the author takes a single point of his presentation and exaggerates it beyond naturalistic possibility (plus one), we have entered the alteristic realm. Yann Martel’s The Life of Pi with its tiger and boy raft trip across the Pacific Ocean clearly falls into this category as does Margaret Atwood’s A Handmaid’s Tale (with its dystopian vision of a Christian theocratic, totalitarian government that systematically subjugates women as mere “baby-makers”).11 These two novels are part of the alteristic section of the continuum. Again, as with mannerism and magical realism, there are entire genres that live in the alteristic realm, e.g., science fiction and fantasy fiction. What these presentations—such as Isaac Asimov’s I, Robot; Frank Herbert’s Dune series; J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series; C.S. Lewis’s Narnia series; and George Orwell’s 1984 and Animal Farm—do is to create an alternate universe in which the laws recognized in the common body of knowledge do not obtain in certain respects.12 Other aspects of the presentation are consonant with realistic understandings of how people behave and what nature is like.

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These authors make these variances for a point. They intentionally lean toward the didactic (toward the left pole in Figure 3.1). The possible problem with this strategy is what I have called “the thought experiment fallacy.” The essence of this deductive and inductive fallacy is that one (intentionally) makes alterations to the boundary conditions of the common body of knowledge so that the thought experiment (or other fictive narrative vehicle) can go forward toward a predetermined pedagogical end that lends itself to one or a limited number of interpretations (not too dissimilar to Aesop’s Fables). The problem occurs when the author would have us believe that these conclusions can be brought back to the realistic world bound by the common body of knowledge. Such a move finesses the nature of the distortions [changes] employed. For example, say one wrote from a position that people were always generous when another person was seen to be in distress and the character in the narrative did just that. It might solve the story, but it does so by employing a controversial understanding of human nature (i.e., that humans are generally altruistic). The same could hold true if one offered a Hobbesian depiction of human nature as eternally selfish and competitive. One could create a narrative in which this posit were the lynch pin of the action and its resolution. Obviously, the conclusion is only as strong as that controversial premise. These distortions are particularly prevalent in narratives that seek to instruct social/political truths. Because the formation of the end is so important to the author, he or she may be willing to try to slip in sideconditions that are designed a priori to make the desired point. Now this only becomes a fallacy when the presenter sets out that the narrative is really in the realistic ontological mode (when, in fact, it is in the manneristic or the alteristic mode).13 The author believes she can move back into the naturalistic realm seamlessly. But it cannot be seamless because key boundary conditions to the common body of knowledge have been altered. This misrepresentation constitutes a logical category mistake, and is thus illogical from a deductive logic standpoint. Readers beware: the thought experiment fallacy is more prevalent than you might think! For authors who venture away from realism and the common body of knowledge (either through the manneristic or the alteristic modes) and wish to do so without committing the thought experiment fallacy, they should be content in creating a sort of relativism on the model of Zeno of Elea or Albert Einstein. These authors sought to distance themselves from absolute pronouncements about motion in space by saying that motion was not determined by movement within a static container, but could be better seen relative to other objects. In Zeno’s paradox of the moving columns (also called “the stadium”), there are two groups: A group and B group. How fast are they moving? There was a difference in perception in the motion of the two columns vis-à-vis the perception of a spectator who was in group A or B vs. the perception of one outside observer: C.

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Table 6.1 Relativity According to Zeno A group: XXXXXXXX =>