Narrative Representation and Phenomenological Knowledge

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The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate that narrative representations can provide knowledge in virtue of their narrativity, regardless of their truth value. I set out the question in section 1, distinguishing narrative cognitivism from aesthetic cognitivism and narrative representations from non-narrative representations. Sections 2 and 3 argue that exemplary narratives can provide lucid phenomenological knowledge, which appears to meet both the epistemic and narrativity criteria for the narrative cognitivist thesis. In section 4, I turn to non-narrative representation, focusing on lyric poetry as presenting a disjunctive objection: either lucid phenomenological knowledge can be reduced to identification and fails to meet the epistemic criterion, or lucid phenomenological knowledge is provided in virtue of aesthetic properties and fails to meet the narrativity criterion. I address both of these problems in sections 5 and 6, and I close with a tentative suggestion as to how my argument for narrative cognitivism could be employed as an argument for aesthetic cognitivism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)327-342
Number of pages16
JournalAustralasian Journal of Philosophy
Issue number2
Early online date1 Jul 2015
Publication statusPublished - 2 Apr 2016


  • aesthetic cognitivism
  • narrative representation
  • phenomenological knowledge


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