203991

Springer, Dordrecht

2018

239 pages

ISBN 978-3-319-72657-1

Synthese Library
vol. 391

Truth in fiction

rethinking its logic

John Woods

This monograph examines truth in fiction by applying the techniques of a naturalized logic of human cognitive practices. The author structures his project around two focal questions. What would it take to write a book about truth in literary discourse with reasonable promise of getting it right? What would it take to write a book about truth in fiction as true to the facts of lived literary experience as objectivity allows?

It is argued that the most semantically distinctive feature ofthe sentences of fiction is that they are unambiguously true and false together. It is true that Sherlock Holmes lived at 221B Baker Street and also concurrently false that he did. A second distinctive feature of fiction is that the reader at large knows of this inconsistency and isn't in the least cognitively molested by it. Why, it is asked, would this be so? What would explain it?

Two answers are developed. According to the no-contradiction thesis, the semantically tangled sentences of fiction are indeed logically inconsistent but not logically contradictory. According to the no-bother thesis, if the inconsistencies of fiction were contradictory, a properly contrived logic for the rational management of inconsistency would explain why readers at large are not thrown off cognitive stride by their embrace of those contradictions. As developed here, the account of fiction suggests the presence of an underlying three - or four-valued dialethic logic. The author shows this to be a mistaken impression. There are only two truth-values in his logic of fiction.

Publication details

Full citation [Harvard style]:

Woods, J. (2018). Truth in fiction: rethinking its logic, Springer, Dordrecht.

Suboptimality and pretence

Woods John

1-23

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A research model for fiction

Woods John

25-47

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What readers know

Woods John

49-71

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Truth-making

Woods John

73-91

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Sherlock

Woods John

93-112

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"Sherlock"

Woods John

113-131

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Salty tears and racing hearts

Woods John

133-151

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Other things Sherlock isn't

Woods John

153-172

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