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Logos & Episteme

Volume 2, Issue 1, 2011

Bogdan Creţu
Pages 7-19

Literature and Knowledge. A new Version of an Old Story

This paper tries to discuss some of the theories concerning the relation between literature and knowledge. On the one hand, most of the time, philosophers do not believe in the force of literature to generate knowledge. On the other, litterateurs are more optimistic, considering that there is a specific kind of knowledge that literature (sometimes they emphasize: only literature) is able to deliver. These are the two antagonistic theories I have to arbitrate in this paper. In my opinion, literature is an ally of science and philosophy and it can provide a large amount of knowledge about some aspects of reality that cannot be put into concepts. Some examples like dreams and love regarded both by philosophers and writers try to demonstrate that sometimes only literature can conquer some territories of the human mind and sensibility. At the end, the paper asserts, along with Peter Swirski, that interdisciplinarity is a compulsory condition if we want to take advantage from the whole knowledge that sciences, as well as arts, among which literature is to be mentioned, can offer us. The conclusion is borrowed from Milan Kundera’s Art of the Novel: Knowledge is the literature’s only morality.

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