Volume 19, Issue 2, 2019
Philosophy of Art
Literature and Truth
Revisiting Stolnitz’s Anti-cognitivism
In this paper I address Jerome Stolnitz’s famous article “On the cognitive triviality of art,” with the aim of defending aesthetic and literary cognitivism against the charges Stolnitz issues at it therein. My defence of literary cognitivism is grounded in contemporary epistemology, which, I argue, is more embracive of cognitive values of literature traditionally invoked by literary cognitivists. My discussion is structured against Stolnitz’s individual arguments, dedicated in particular to the problem of literary truth. After exploring what such notion might amount to, I move on to address the problems of applicability and triviality of literary truths, and I end by defending literature as a cognitively valuable social practice.