Fictional Narrative and the Other’s Perspective

Croatian Journal of Philosophy 65 (22):161-179 (2022)
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Abstract

Anti-cognitivism is best understood as a challenge to explain how works of fictional narrative can add to our worldly knowledge. One way to respond to this challenge is to argue that works of fictional narrative add to our knowledge by inviting us to explore, in the imagination, the perspectives or points of view of others. In the present paper, I distinguish two readings of this thesis that reflect two very different conceptions of “perspective”: a first understanding focuses on what the world looks like from a subjective point of view. Within this framework, we can distinguish approaches that focus on the subjective character of experience from others that explore the nature of subjectivity. I will argue that both strands can be successful only if they acknowledge the de se character of imagining. The second conception understands perspective as a method of representing. To illustrate it, I will look back to the invention of linear perspective in Renaissance painting. I will argue that the definition of perspective as a rule-guided method or technique can shed new light on the thesis that works of narrative fiction are particularly suited to display other perspectives.

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Wolfgang Huemer
Università Degli Studi Di Parma

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