Essay on Analyis of Knowledge of a Possibility by JUllary Putnam

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The value of literature as a source of knowledge is a timeless debate that varies depending on how knowledge is defined. I will adopt Hillary Putnam’s theory of “Knowledge of a Possibility” (Putnam 488) in “Literature Science, and Reflection” (1976), and focus on the value of literature as a source of conceptual knowledge. The emergence of the novel brought with it conventions for a more realistic writing style that aimed to appeal to the common readers. Variations of the degree of realism ranged from writing that tried to present a fully authentic experience of life, known as Formal Realism, and writing that offers some authentic aspects of life but also conserves characteristics of classic genres of epics and romances. These …show more content…
The value of literature as a source of knowledge is a timeless debate that varies depending on how knowledge is defined. I will adopt Hillary Putnam’s theory of “Knowledge of a Possibility” (Putnam 488) in “Literature Science, and Reflection” (1976), and focus on the value of literature as a source of conceptual knowledge. The emergence of the novel brought with it conventions for a more realistic writing style that aimed to appeal to the common readers. Variations of the degree of realism ranged from writing that tried to present a fully authentic experience of life, known as Formal Realism, and writing that offers some authentic aspects of life but also conserves characteristics of classic genres of epics and romances. These contrasting styles can be seen notably in Journal of the Plague Year (1722) by Daniel Defoe, and Joseph Andrews (1742) by Henry Fielding respectively. In the context of these author’s respective works, the intrusiveness of Fielding’s narrator along with his relatively artificial characters and plot, ultimately makes the work less realistic by the standards of Formal Realism and by contrast, Defoe’s first person narration along with his more lifelike characters and plot, adhere more strictly to the conventions of Formal Realism. In the debate about knowledge, the author’s intentions for a work are important, and should be considered by looking at the impact of realism towards the effectiveness of communicating the author’s purpose to the reader.

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