Non-Fictions and Narrative Truths

Matravers, Derek (2022). Non-Fictions and Narrative Truths. Croatian Journal of Philosophy, 22(65) pp. 145–160.



This paper starts from the fact that the study of narrative in contemporary Anglo-American philosophy is almost exclusively the study of fictional narrative. It returns to an earlier debate in which Hayden White argued that “historiography is a form of fiction-making.” Although White’s claims are hyperbolical, the paper argues that he was correct to stress the importance of the claim that fiction and non-fiction use “the same techniques and strategies.” A distinction is drawn between properties of narratives that are simply properties of narratives and properties of narratives that play a role in forming readers’ beliefs about the world. Using this distinction, it is shown that it is an important feature of non-fictions that they are narratives; it is salutary to recognise non-fictions as being more like fictions than they are like the events they represent.

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