The paradox of fact from fiction; What fiction can and can’t tell us about the real world


  • Todd Jones University of Nevada



justification, knowledge, Fiction


In philosophical discussions of literature, there is a great deal of discussion about what’s been termed “the paradox of fiction”: how is it that we can be emotionally moved by characters that we know are not real?  But an important related problem might be called the paradox of fact from fiction: how can an invented fictional world give us knowledge about the real one?     In this essay I will look carefully at how fictional worlds could possibly tell us about real ones, and whether they, in fact, tends to do so.   I then discuss ideas about how we might change how fiction is taught, in light of these conclusions.

Author Biography

  • Todd Jones, University of Nevada

    Las Vegas Professor of Philosophy


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Is there truth through literature?

How to Cite

“The Paradox of Fact from Fiction; What Fiction Can and can’t Tell Us about the Real World”. 2019. Aesthetic Investigations 3 (1): 28-46.