The London Aesthetics Forum

The London Aesthetics Forum
13 October 2021, 4.00pm - 6.00pm
Bedford Room, G37, Ground Floor, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU

On Being Misled By Non-Fiction

Derek Matravers (Open University)


It is generally thought that the view, propounded by Hayden White and characteristic of the postmodern fringe, that all narratives (whether non-fiction or fiction) are epistemologically on a par because they are all in some way the product of the imagination has been successfully rebutted by Noel Carroll and others. Although this paper will not attempt to resuscitate the strong version of that claim, it will argue that there are various boringly standard constitutive features of narrative that make canonical non-fictional narratives more epistemologically suspect than is generally thought. If this is right, it would not only cast suspicion on the reliability of non-fictional narratives as a source of belief, but it also throw a shadow over some other enquiries, such as work on testimony and narrative therapy.

The London Aesthetics Forum (LAF) is a Forum of the Institute of Philosophy at the University of London’s School of Advanced Study. With lectures on topics in aesthetics and philosophy of art, LAF aims to stimulate philosophical reflection on art. Our events are free and open to all.

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