1st Edition

Fictive Narrative Philosophy How Fiction Can Act as Philosophy

By Michael Boylan Copyright 2019
    272 Pages
    by Routledge

    272 Pages 7 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    What is the philosophical voice within literature? Does literature have a voice of its own? Can this voice really be philosophical in its own right? In this book, Michael Boylan argues that some literary works indeed can make their own unique claims in different areas of philosophy. He calls this method fictive narrative philosophy.

    The first part of the book presents an overview of traditional thinking about philosophy and literature across classical, modern, and contemporary periods. It does not seek to denigrate these methods of studying literature, but rather to ask more of them. The second part then sets out a rigorous definition of what constitutes fictive narrative philosophy. This definition outlines detailed conceptions of the methods of presentation, audience engagement, logical mechanics, and constructional devices of fictive narrative philosophy. The author brings this definition to bear on individual authors and works that can be considered prime examples of fictive narrative philosophy. Finally, the book sets out why and when fictive narratives might be more favorable than traditional philosophical discourse, and how the concept of fictive narrative philosophy can move teaching and scholarship forward in a positive direction.

    Fictive Narrative Philosophy presents an entirely new and unique approach in which literature can be a form of philosophy. It will appeal to scholars and upper-level students interested in philosophy and literature.

    Part I: The Structure of the Traditional Paradigm

    Chapter One: Narrative Fiction as Philosophically Interpreted in the Ancient Western World

    Chapter Two: Narrative Fiction as Philosophically Interpreted in the Modern and Contemporary Western World

    Part II: The Structure of the New Paradigm

    Chapter Three: What makes an Artifact Philosophy?

    Chapter Four: Literature as Philosophy

    Chapter Five: The Special Logic of Fictive Narrative Philosophy

    Chapter Six: Constructional Devices

    Chapter Seven: How do we Judge Fictive Narrative Philosophy?

    Chapter Eight: When Should we use Direct Discourse Philosophy and when Fictive Narrative Philosophy?

    Chapter Nine: How Might Fictive Narrative Philosophy Change the Academy?

    Appendix I: First Order Metaethical Principles: My own Philosophical Work on Ethics and Personhood Theory as a First Step for ‘Ethics & Fictive Narrative Philosophy’

    Appendix II: My own work in Fictive Narrative Philosophy


    Michael Boylan is professor of philosophy at Marymount University. He is the author of 34 books and 138 essays covering literature, ethics/political philosophy, and ancient philosophy of science. He has been an invited lecturer at major universities in 14 countries on 5 continents. He as served on national advisory committees in the U.S.A. and has been a fellow at think tanks such as the Center for American Progress and the Brookings Institution.

    "Boylan makes an important contribution to the philosophy of literature by using his idea of the personal worldview to understand how we engage with fictive narrative philosophy and offering an explanation as to why that is pedagogically valuable . . . [He] offers a new conception of philosophical writing that has implications for how we understand the nature of argument and argumentation."Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews