Language, Truth, and Literature: A Defence of Literary Humanism

Rafe McGregor

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    In Language, Truth, and Literature, Richard Gaskin defends literary humanism on the basis that works of literature refer. His writing is a model of composition, concision, and clarity, and literary humanism is delineated on the first page of the preface: literary works have an objective meaning, aesthetic value and cognitive value are linked, and the aesthetic-cognitive value of a work of literature is in virtue of the work making true statements about the world (viii). This outline is subsequently developed into a definition consisting of six distinct claims, for each of which convincing evidence is provided. The monograph is divided into sixty-four numbered sections and twelve chapters. The first three chapters establish Gaskin’s theory of literature, which is often contrasted with Peter Lamarque and Stein Haugom Olsen’s no-truth theory from Truth, Fiction, and Literature (1994), the fourth defends the theory against objections from analytic philosophy, and the remaining eight against objections from literary theory.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)381-384
    Number of pages4
    JournalBritish Journal of Aesthetics
    Issue number3
    Early online date17 Oct 2013
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2014


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