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(2018) Truth in fiction, Dordrecht, Springer.

What readers know

John Woods

pp. 49-71

When we read a fictional work, we are made to believe and know things that obtain in the story. When we grasp the author's sentences we are induced to draw inferences about what else obtains in the story. What stands out about these commonplaces is how effortlessly we arrive at those beliefs and their states of knowledge, and how effortlessly we draw the inferences we do. On the face of it – and perhaps all the way to the bone – we do these things almost as naturally as we breathe. I want a theory of knowledge that gives these matters the attention that's due them. If we followed the procedural rules of Chap.  2, a datum of importance enough to objectify our interest in that aspect of fictional engagement would be the world-wide legions of fiction's readers who experience themselves as having been made to know a good deal about the people and events in what they read. If readers are wrong about this, we have the big-box scepticism problem we examined a chapter ago. It is a troublesome consequence, sufficiently so I said, to lend the opposite view some real support. If our fictional experiencings are sound in the general case, there is indeed a great deal of knowledge of what goes on in the stories we read.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-72658-8_3

Full citation:

Woods, J. (2018). What readers know, in Truth in fiction, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 49-71.

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