Philosophy

Articles

Literature and Knowledge

Catherine Wilsona1

a1 University of Oregon

There is probably no subject in the philosophy of art which has prompted more impassioned theorizing than the question of the ‘cognitive value’ of works of art. ‘In the end’, one influential critic has stated, ‘I do not distinguish between science and art except as regards method. Both provide us with a view of reality and both are indispensable to a complete understanding of the universe.’ If a man is not prepared to distinguish between science and art one may well wonder what he is prepared to distinguish between, but in all fairness it should be pointed out that the writings of anti-cognitivists contain equally strenuous statements of doctrine. For I. A. Richards, poetry consists of ‘pseudo-statements’ which are ‘true’ if they ‘suit and serve some attitude or link together attitudes which on other grounds are desirable’.