Video: Iris Murdoch on Philosophy and Literature

Philosophy and literature are distinct.   Philosophy is certainly not a literary genre.   Is there any relationship between philosophy and literature?  Are there some common elements?   Both philosophy and literature are reflections of the world we live in, however, their objectives are certainly different.   Philosophy’s task is to find the truth value of something and to delineate and clarify.   Literature on the other hand is concerned with telling a story, appealing to the reader’s passions and satisfying their need to be stimulated through words, prose, and fantasy–essentially a mode of entertainment.

I found a video of  Iris Murdoch  on Youtube where she talks about philosophy and literature.

I really enjoyed this video.


A writer should write about things or subjects that they ‘know’.

A writer should write about things or subjects that they ‘know.’  First, I want to say that I am primarily concerned here with academic or non-fiction writing.  That is not to say that my suggestions could not be applied to fiction-writing projects as well; it would depend on what you are writing about; for instance, a fiction work based in a historical context would necessitate knowing the historical facts of a given period.

What does ‘know’ mean and how would you as a writer engage with such a process?  How does a writer come to know something?  Here is my outline about what a writer needs to pay attention to: (i) the topic or subject should be thoroughly researched, i.e. you do the footwork and not someone else (It involves many long hours of work, and perhaps hundreds!); (ii) first-person experience with the subject/topic is always helpful if not necessary in some situations (it all depends on what you are writing about); (iii) acknowledging the facts; and (iv) understanding what an ‘assumption’ is and not confusing it with a ‘fact’, i.e. taken-for-granted assumptions are ‘not’ facts and must be scrutinized without bias; and if you are biased then you must clearly state your reasons, i.e. writing responsibly, is in my opinion a must!   And if  you want to be taken seriously as a writer, no matter what your subject or topic is,  then it would be beneficial to critically engage with other viewpoints no matter what you are writing about!

Essentially this was brief post on epistemology for writers… and I will be writing more on this later.

Do you have a writing project that you need help with?  Do you have writer’s block?  Do you need critical commentary?  Then by all means, don’t just sit there and brood,  contact me at:  karinfstr (a) yahoo (dot) com

By Karin Susan Fester copyright (c) 2013

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