Culture, the Arts, and Society - Philosophy as Literature

CLLC-L 210 / CLASS 13683 — Spring 2024

Edmondson Hall C112
Days and Times
M/W 3:00 p.m. - 4:15 p.m., 3 credits
Course Description

This course explores a range of topics at the intersection of philosophy and literature, all of which are related to the question of what it would mean to pursue a philosophical problem through fiction. We will begin by reading some classics of both philosophy (Plato, Descartes, and others) and literature (Tolstoy, Munro, and others), with a view to getting clear on what the goals of each discipline are, how they conceive of themselves, and the extent to which these self-conceptions are compatible. Next, we will turn to a central debate in the philosophy of literature, concerning the so-called cognitive value of fiction: can we learn truths about the actual world by reading about events that take place in fictional ones? Finally, we will study a collection of pieces that blur the line between philosophy and fiction, including short stories by Ted Chiang and Jorge Luis Borges.  

Instructor: Jake Walerius

Selected by Board of Educational Programming (BOEP)