Philosophical fiction

Philosophical fiction
Philosophical fiction
Distinctive features Significant proportion devoted to discussion of questions normally addressed in discursive philosophy
Subgenres
Novel of ideas

Philosophical fiction refers to works of fiction in which a significant proportion of the work is devoted to a discussion of the sort of questions normally addressed in discursive philosophy. These might include the function and role of society, the purpose of life, ethics or morals, the role of art in human lives, and the role of experience or reason in the development of knowledge. Philosophical fiction works would include the so-called novel of ideas, including a significant proportion of science fiction, utopian and dystopian fiction, and Bildungsroman. The modus operandi seems to be to use a normal story to simply explain difficult and/or dark parts of human life.

Contents

Prominent philosophical fiction

This is only a list of some major philosophical fiction. For all philosophical novels, see Category:Philosophical novels

There is no universally acceptable definition of philosophical fiction, but certain works would be of key importance in its history.

A borderline case is that of Plato's Socratic dialogues; while possibly based on real events, it is widely accepted that with a few exceptions (the most likely being the Apology), the dialogues were entirely Plato's creation. On the other hand, the "plot" of these dialogues consist of men discussing philosophical matters, so the degree to which they fall into what moderns would recognize as "fiction" is rather unclear.

Author Name Date Notes
St. Augustine De Magistro (4th century) Early example
Abelard Dialogue of a Philosopher with a Jew and a Christian (12th century) Early example
Ibn Tufail Philosophus Autodidactus (12th century)[1][2] Early example
Yehuda Halevi The Kuzari (12th century) Arabic
Voltaire Candide (1759) Early example
Thomas Carlyle Sartor Resartus Canonical
Goethe Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship Canonical
Tolstoy War and Peace Canonical
Robert Musil The Man Without Qualities Canonical
Sartre Nausea Canonical
Milan Kundera The Unbearable Lightness of Being
Most of the novels by Albert Camus and Hermann Hesse
Most novels by Stanislaw Lem
Aldous Huxley After Many a Summer
Aldous Huxley Island
Novels by Iris Murdoch, Anthony Burgess, Jean Paul Sartre, Andre Malraux, Marcel Proust, Stendhal, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
C.S. Lewis Space Trilogy
Søren Kierkegaard Diary of a Seducer A novel in the highly literary philosophical work Either/Or.
Friedrich Nietzsche Thus Spoke Zarathustra Perhaps the most well-known example of a modern philosophical novel.
Marcel Proust In Search of Lost Time
Jean-Paul Sartre No Exit An existentialist play outlining Sartrean philosophy.
The novels of Umberto Eco
Jostein Gaarder Sophie's World (1991)
Yukio Mishima The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With The Sea

Subgenres

Novel of Ideas

Philosophical novels would include the so-called novel of ideas, including a significant proportion of science fiction, utopian and dystopian fiction, and Bildungsroman.

References

  1. ^ Jon Mcginnis, Classical Arabic Philosophy: An Anthology of Sources, p. 284, Hackett Publishing Company, ISBN 0-87220-871-0.
  2. ^ Samar Attar, The Vital Roots of European Enlightenment: Ibn Tufayl's Influence on Modern Western Thought, Lexington Books, ISBN 0-7391-1989-3.

External links



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