Derek Matravers (Open): Those pesky categories of fact and fiction

Derek Matravers (Open): Those pesky categories of fact and fiction

7th March 2017 - 4:00 pm, Edinburgh

Recording Available


This paper will consider whether works in genres such as biopics, docudramas, and Shakespeare’s History Plays are fiction or non-fiction. It will argue that (a) some of them are non-fictions and (b) that, for others, it is a mistake to classify them under either heading. This will lead to a consideration of what motivates authors of non-fiction, and argues that a commitment to truth has both an epistemological and a non-epistemological function. Along the way it will conclude (as does Kendall Walton) that it is misguided to think that fiction is more of a philosophical puzzle than non-fiction.

About the speaker

Derek Matravers is Professor of Philosophy at The Open University. His main interests are in aesthetics and the philosophy of art, while he also works in political philosophy, ethics, and the philosophy of mind. Currently, he is considering how to integrate the protection of cultural property into Just War Theory, whist also working on some problems from his recent monograph Fiction and Narrative (OUP: 2014). Other recent books by Derek Matravers include Empathy (Polity: 2017), and a collection, edited with Damien Freeman, entitled Figuring Out Figurative Art (Routledge: 2014). Derek Matravers is on the Executive Committee of the Royal Music Association Music and Philosophy Study Group, and a founder-member of the International Network of Sympathy, Empathy, and the Imagination. For more information:

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