The Epistemic Value of Speculative Fiction

Midwest Studies in Philosophy 39 (1):58-77 (2015)
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Speculative fiction, such as science fiction and fantasy, has a unique epistemic value. We examine similarities and differences between speculative fiction and philosophical thought experiments in terms of how they are cognitively processed. They are similar in their reliance on mental prospection, but dissimilar in that fiction is better able to draw in readers (transportation) and elicit emotional responses. By its use of longer, emotionally poignant narratives and seemingly irrelevant details, speculative fiction allows for a better appraisal of the consequences of philosophical ideas than thought experiments
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