Of Literature and Knowledge: Explorations in Narrative Thought Experiments, Evolution, and Game Theory
"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.
"...merges a conversational, humorous tone with a disciplined academic attitude that not only enlightens but entertains... fascinating, essential contribution towards a more interdisciplinary understanding of literature, commendable for literary scholars, aestheticians, and philosophers."Philosophy and LiteratureEngaging, challenging... a pleasure to read... an important and stimulating contribution.SubStance...successfully crosses the divide between difficult academic theory and the colloquial idiom of popular speech, and brings into play a range of literary and theoretical reference that is in itself a chief source of pleasure for readers.Joseph Carroll"Of Literature and Knowledge looks like an important advance in this new and very important subject... literature is about to become even more interesting." Peter Swirski is a Canadian scholar and literary critic featured in Canadian Who's Who. He is Amazon's #1 Bestseller in American History and Criticism and in Canadian Literary Criticism. Specialist in American literature and American Studies, and the world's foremost scholar on Stanislaw Lem, he is the author of fifteen award-winning books, including From Lowbrow to Nobrow (2005), Literature, Analytically Speaking (2010), American Utopia and Social Engineering (2011), and Stanislaw Lem: Philosopher of the Future (2015).
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