Refracted Input

Clare O’Farrell’s blog on books, TV, films, Michel Foucault, universities etc. etc.

A reflection below from an interesting article on the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein’s love of American hard boiled detective fiction. Wittgenstein is not known for being an easy read amongst philosophers! Zimmerman provides a nice summation of why we like the fiction we do. This has pretty much always been my own approach to fiction. I see it as part and parcel of my other philosophical interests. It is philosophical reflection played out on another stage.

“Well, why do we—any of us—love the particular fiction we do? Probably not because it matches our philosophical convictions. We choose a genre of fiction because it chooses us—because it speaks to us on the primary level of identity. To read fiction is to inhabit other selves, try on alternative lives, run test cases that probe and stretch our inner and outer relations. And then to return to our actual lives, where we find that the temporary reimagining has already spilled over, quickening, enriching.”

Philip K. Zimmerman, ‘The philosopher and the detectives: Ludwig Wittgenstein’s enduring passion for hardboiled fiction’, CrimeReads, September 24, 2020

2 thoughts on “What draws us to particular fictions

  1. Steven Geoffrey Ogden says:

    This is great Clare. I am doing a radio interview this evening on my favourite books.


  2. Clare O'Farrell says:

    Thanks Steven, you’ve inspired me to get on and put together a new post that I had been thinking about but not writing!


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