The Fiction / Nonfiction Distinction

It is a difficult task drawing a suitable point of demarcation that divides fiction from nonfiction. In this essay, I explore various definitions of ‘fiction’, establishing two senses of the term: fiction as prompting imagination, and fiction as not real. I suggest the two senses are erroneously conflated, and are mutually exclusive. I then argue that all engagements with sensible things in the world prompt an imagination of possible worlds, but this does not necessarily entail fictionality in the ‘not real’ sense. A basic shaping of the process of understanding is then drawn: all understanding involves narrative posits. Even seemingly ‘real’ imaginings are never perfectly veridical; they are verisimilar at best.

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Laying to Rest: Identity as a Zombie Category

In discussions of identity, the concept of a ‘private identity’ cannot be granted any significance, as the traditional commonsensical split between a private identity and a public identity is an untenable one. Rather, all identity is ostensive and articulated through the body via performance, in contrast to an epistemically secure private self in which one has privileged acquaintance with.

What a Honed Palate Really Signifies

But where does language fit into this picture? I believe that having a good palate is ultimately a matter of language, for it allows a championship over supposedly ineffable sense experiences. It is only language, and totally up to one’s prowess and accuracy of language, that enables our experiences through tasting to enter a public arena. For in a languageless existence, verification cannot be possible. Private intrinsic experiences are sentenced to confinement - they cannot be liberated and released into the external world without language.