Of Literature and Knowledge: Explorations in Narrative Thought Experiments, Evolution and Game Theory

1st Edition

Peter Swirski

Routledge
Published December 4, 2006
Reference - 208 Pages
ISBN 9780415420600 - CAT# RU0601

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Summary

"Of Literature and Knowledge looks ... like an important advance in this new and very important subject... literature is about to become even more interesting." – Edward O. Wilson, Pellegrino University Professor, Harvard University.

Framed by the theory of evolution, this colourful and engaging volume presents a new understanding of the mechanisms by which we transfer information from narrative make-believe to real life. Ranging across game theory and philosophy of science, as well as poetics and aesthetics, Peter Swirski explains how literary fictions perform as a systematic tool of enquiry, driven by thought experiments. Crucially, he argues for a continuum between the cognitive tools employed by scientists, philosophers and scholars or writers of fiction.

The result is a provocative study of our talent and propensity for creating imaginary worlds, different from the world we know yet invaluable to our understanding of it. Of Literature and Knowledge is a noteworthy challenge to contemporary critical theory, arguing that by bridging the gap between literature and science we might not only reinvigorate literary studies but, above all, further our understanding of literature.

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