Monday, December 27, 2010

Fictional Truth




Is there such thing as fictional truth?

The concept of fictional truth is indeed paradoxical and/or contradictory, however, this doesn't mean that it does not exist. It is a concept tackled by many, but recognized by only some.

Gregory Currie, a Professor of Philosophy and Dean of the Faculty of Arts at the University of Nottingham wrote a paper about the evaluation and interpretation of fictional truth in literary works (1985-New Zealand). He describes fictional truth in the notion of how truth can be derived from fictional works.

Dimitria Electra Gatzia, an assistant professor of Philosophy at the University of Akron is in progress of writing a paper about the concept of fictional truth, using Currie's claims:
"Anyone who has read Pride and Prejudice would agree that Mr. Darcy asks Elizabeth to marry him. The statement ‘Mr. Darcy proposes to Elisabeth’ is thus true in Jane Austen’s story. The relevant passages in the book confirm this. It is a simple matter to apply the notion of truth to fictional statements. It is not so simple, however, to explain what makes something fictionally true. Is something true, for example, if it is not stated explicitly in the story? The best way to settle this question is to attempt to give truth conditions for statements of the form ‘In F, P’. Currie (1986) offers a set of necessary and sufficient conditions for statements of this form. His account is motivated by the fact that to “say that P is fictionally true is just to say that it is part of some story F, that P” (p. 196). In “Truth and Inference in Fiction”, Phillips (1997) argues that Currie’s (1986) account of fictional truth is inadequate because it requires that we posit a fictional author. He then proposes an account of fictional truth that resembles Currie’s but which does not require positing a fictional author. We agree with Phillips that Currie’s proposal is problematic, but argue that Phillips’ is too. We then propose another variation of Currie’s account that avoids the problems his own version faces and which fares better than Phillips’."
"It is a simple matter to apply the notion of truth to fictional statements." This sentence defines applying truth to fiction.

Now, obviously, being a fifteen-year old student in High School, I am not as accountable or reliable as someone like Gatzia, who holds a PhD degree. Albeit I do render my own opinions, they are reinforced by more accountable sources.

Therefore, in my poem Truth/from/a/Teen, I stated in the first stanza:
Truth/using fact and fiction.
One can find truth using fiction. It's just one of those things that is said easier, than done.

In my perception, the concept of fictional truth is an allegory of how one can not reach perfection- and that even the truth, can be derived from the lie.

EDIT
It was pointed out to me by the person this post was dedicated to, that indeed, I failed to describe in detail my OWN opinion. I left a comment back to the person in the comments section, but I decided it needed to be posted in the post itself. Here it is:

"...I do appreciate your remarks, as they made me realize that in fact- I did not fully describe MY OWN opinion. You are most definitely right. 
A main reason I didn't state my opinion first as a matter of fact was because my senses were telling me that no one would believe me. That's why I relied on more accountable sources. Yet, my voice was hidden by the majority of them. 
The last sentence of your comment is something I should say: I wish I had time to write more. In the last sentence of my blog, I state my opinion. However, I fail to describe it [in detail]. 
At first, I used to fail to reinforce my opinions using sources, and with this post, I failed to describe MY opinion. You have made me realize that I need to balance these out.
With that said, here is MY opinion DESCRIBED IN DETAIL, about fictional truth:
Fictional truth can exist, but only in literary terms. This means, that fictional truth may not exist in actions, but in words. It is yet another aspect that makes words unique. In order to show HOW it exists, one can only give examples. In my case, I derive the truth from lies/fictional work. For example, John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men is a piece of fictional work, but I can find an aspect of truth from it. The truth is Lennie is killed by George. This is fictional truth, because it is the truth derived from a work of fiction. 
Fiction, in essence, does not mean fake. The term fiction in my context, is what it truly means- a literary work using imagination. 
Also, fact is not the same thing as truth, although similar. Truth is a fact that can be verified. Verified by what? Fact can be verified by fact OR fiction. And how? Using words. 
Fictional truth proves that contradiction and paradox, allows one to realize that perfection is out of reach, because even the FACT, relies on fiction..."


You tell me.
-That's the TFAT



28 comments:

  1. you're such a little philosopher
    keep it up dude!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. ok, ok. fine .write a bunch of stuff from a bunch of famous people .make me believe truths are lies, but still. it doesn't work in my head. makes absolute no sense. and using big words isn't gonna make it more understanding. sorry, but this blog doesn't work.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Well, it's your opinion. Albeit, just because it hasn't changed your view, doesn't mean the post doesn't "work", or in any other case, unsuccessful.

    It probably doesn't work for YOU.

    And truths AREN'T lies, truth can be DERIVED from them. I'll have to talk to you personally to explain it in more detail.

    Thank you both!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Aadil,

    I am proud that you took my simple (yet complicated) question and were able to write a blog about it. Blogging is all about how statements or questions can spark interest in a person and make them write where they stand on matters.

    With that said, I am disappointed with this blog entry. Don't get me wrong, I very much enjoy reading your posts and have followed your blog (with the help of your Facebook fan page-- I'm one of your "likes") since the "Burn the Quran Day" controversies. I am always interested in what a fifteen year old American-Muslim has to say and what his views are on certain topics.

    I simply feel that you could have done a much better job with this one. In your entry you state, "I am not as accountable or reliable as someone like Gatzia, who holds a PhD degree. Albeit I do render my own opinions,..." That is exactly what I was trying to pry out of you--- YOUR opinion on "Can Truth be Fictional?" with the help of some back up sources. It seems that in this blog entry you let the sources do the talking for you.

    You also say, "One can find truth using fiction. It's just one of those things that is said easier, than done." How can one find truth using fiction? And if it is easier said, then my friend you did a horrible job "saying" it.

    I KNOW you can do better than this post. I think your readers and facebook fans deserve better than this post.

    By the way, you are right, I do enjoy making people think and thanks for taking the time to read up on my blog. I wish I had time to write more.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hmm..touche. You changed MY view. Didn't think it would exist, but we all know the English language is contradictory, yet still beautiful. Well done, sir.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I am sad to see that my long comment was deleted. So much for Freedom of Speech.

    ReplyDelete
  7. With all due respect, I honestly have no idea what long comment you are talking about. Are you sure that you pressed the post comment button after previewing your comment? Sorry for the inconvenience, could you possibly repost your comment. I truly don't know what went wrong.

    ReplyDelete
  8. After feeling anxious to read what you commented, I tried to recover your comment-and I did. It took me a while as you can notice, but I did it.

    It seems as if, due to the length of the comment, Blogspot automatically marked it as spam and put in the spam section of my comments. Again, sorry for the inconvenience.

    I do appreciate your remarks, as they made me realize that in fact- I did not fully describe MY OWN opinion. You are most definitely right.

    A main reason I didn't state my opinion first as a matter of fact is because my senses were telling me that no one would believe me. That's why I relied on more accountable sources. Yet, my voice was hidden by the majority of them.

    The last sentence of your comment is something I should say: I wish I had time to write more. In the last sentence of my blog, I state my opinion. However, I fail to describe it.

    At first, I used to fail to reinforce my opinions using sources, and with this post, I failed to describe MY opinion. You have made me realize that I need to balance these out.

    With that said, here is MY opinion DESCRIBED IN DETAIL, about fictional truth:

    Fictional truth can exist, but only in literary terms. This means, that fictional truth may not exist in actions, but in words. It is yet another aspect that makes words unique. In order to show HOW it exists, one can only give examples. In my case, I derive the truth from lies/fictional work. For example, John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men is a piece of fictional work, but I can find an aspect of truth from it. The truth is Lennie is killed by George. This is fictional truth, because it is the truth derived from a work of fiction.

    Fiction, in essence, does not mean fake. The term fiction in my context, is what it truly means- a literary work using imagination.

    Consequently, fact is not the same thing as truth, although similar. Truth is a fact that can be verified. Verified by what? Fact can be verified by fact OR fiction. And how? Using words.

    Fictional truth proves that contradiction and paradox, allows one to realize that perfection is out of reach, beccause even the FACT, relies on fiction.

    Again, I thank you for your comment. I'm sorry I disappointed you, and I hope this summed it up. Thank you so much for your support! If I made any spelling or grammatical errors, please excuse me- I typed this all up on my phone! That's how much I wanted to read you comment!

    ReplyDelete
  9. this one was kinda confusing

    ReplyDelete
  10. @Faisal,

    Indeed it is, because the concept of fictional truth is a hard one to understand. I will talk to you in person to explain it in even more detail.

    To all others: please leave your name and questions! I will be glad to answer!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Still confusing, but that is because the topic itself is confusing. The edit is MUCH better and I'm glad we got to hear your side, opinions, and own words about the topic. For the cards you were dealt (i.e. the topic of fictional truth), you did as good of a job as one can do.

    I'm Very proud of this post (along with the others).

    Looking forward to reading more of your entries :)

    ReplyDelete
  12. Oh, by the way.. you said, "A main reason I didn't state my opinion first as a matter of fact is because my senses were telling me that no one would believe me."

    It is not your responsibility to get people to believe you or to worry about whether people believe you or not. You just write and leave the rest up to your readers and critics. However, I do think your responsibility to make sure people have a "good time" reading you blog. Keep it fun, fresh, and interesting.

    Good luck in your future endeavors.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Good point, it isn't my responsibility to make others believe me, but it is my responsibility to create a "good read".

    Thank you again for your support. You really have helped and inspired me, and hope you continue to read my blog.

    Oh, and by the way: You CAN do it! Writing and documenting from other countries is something I dream of doing myself, and wish YOU the best of luck in your future endeavors! I'll be following your blog!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Thanks Aadil!! I will definitely be following your blog.
    Now you have encouraged me to actually do what I planned. :D

    ReplyDelete
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