We Never Went to Arthur's Seat

I've just finished watching the film One Day. It wasn't my choice and as I suspected, it hit a little too close for comfort. Still, I think it was a great movie with lots of truths in it. Or maybe not.

In one recent episode of Philosophy Bites, Peter Lamarque talks about the claim that great works of fiction often contains important truths about what it is to be human. He does not think so.

As an example, he uses Tolstoy's Anna Karenina and its famous beginning: "Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way."

I think the point he tries to make, is that we should look for the truth and real knowledge elsewhere and see fiction as providing other values. What is called "deeper truths" revealed in literature are perhaps things we need to think about and pay attention to, but perhaps they have no black and white answers and maybe it doesn't matter. For example, there's been no study investigating if happy families are more alike than unhappy ones and I don't think anyone would like to really know for sure. I suppose his book, The Philosophy of Literature, is not to be considered as fiction.

For a constructivist, of course, there is no truth, or perhaps more to the point, many truths. Perhaps we should develop the concept of "true truth" further, in accordance with the Cloud Atlas. Maybe then we can find the way to universal truths. Or at least the way to Arthur's Seat.

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