Workshop: “Philosophy as/and/of Literature. On the Cognitive Value of Literature” (Padova, 14th-15th December 2017)

We are pleased to announce that the International Workshop “Philosophy as/and/of Literature. On the Cognitive Value of Literature” will take place on December, 14th-15th, at the University of Padua (Aula Diano and Aula A, Palazzo Liviano, Piazza Capitaniato 7).

Please find below the complete program and the description of the workshop’s main topics and issues.

Here you can download the flyer of the workshop.


In his Critique of Judgment, Kant affirms that an «aesthetic judgment is unique in kind and provides absolutely no cognition (not even a confused one) of the object»; it brings to our attention «only the purposive form in the [way] the presentational powers are determined in their engagement with the object».
The cognitive value of art is a long lasting topic in philosophical debates and becomes even more complex if we take literature into account, i.e. an art that makes use of a verbal and even conceptual dimensions. Can we learn anything from literature? What kind of possible knowledge can we gain from it? Can we come to know something true through fiction? Can we acquire a general wisdom or a particular expertise from it?
This kind of problem calls into question the more general relationship between philosophy and literature. From Ancient Greek Thought to Classic German Philosophy, from Marxist analysis of literature to Structuralist investigations on its nature, from the Phenomenological and Hermeneutical conceptions of the 20th Century about the truth in the arts to the debate between cognitivists and anti-cognitivists in the Analytical Tradition, the connection (and sometimes struggle) between philosophy and literature has produced many insights, positions, and approaches.
With the title Philosophy as/and/of Literature – which clearly recalls Arthur C. Danto’s renowned article – this workshop aims to discuss the relationship between the two disciplines, with a particular focus on the cognitive value of literature.


Thursday 14th
Aula Diano – Palazzo Liviano

14.00: Introduction
Chair: Gabriele Tomasi

14.15: Eileen John Fables and philosophy: stories for people who know too many stories
15.15: Francesco Campana Dialectical Affinities: Remarks on Philosophy, Literature, and Knowledge

16.15 – 16.45: Coffee Break

Thursday 14th
Aula Diano – Palazzo Liviano
Chair: Jan Czarnecki

16.45: Giuseppe Spolaore Agency and literary truth
17.45: Mario Farina The cognitive value of form in the context of literary fragmentation


Friday 15th
Aula A – Palazzo Liviano
Chair: Francesco Campana

10.30: Peter Lamarque Truth in Poetry: a Matter of Detail
11.45: Jan Czarnecki Truth in Fiction. Ingarden’s Quasi-Judgments Revisited

13.00 – 14.30: Lunch

Friday 15th
Aula Diano – Palazzo Liviano
Chair: Mario Farina

14.30: Carola Barbero Why is reading literature important for us?
15.45: Alberto L. Siani Nowhere between river and road. Thomas Nagel and Cormac McCarthy
17.00: Alberto Voltolini What We Learn from Literary Authors

18.00-18.30: Conclusion


Organizing committee

Gabriele Tomasi (University of Padova)
Francesco Campana (Zentrum für Literatur- und Kulturforschung, Berlin)
The event is supported by the Department of Philosophy, Sociology, Pedagogy and Applied Psychology of the University of Padova and the PhD Course in Philosophy.



Carola Barbero (University of Turin)
Francesco Campana (ZfL, Berlin)
Jan Czarnecki (University of Köln)
Mario Farina (University of Florence)
Eileen John (University of Warwick)
Peter Lamarque (University of York)
Alberto L. Siani (University of Pisa)
Giuseppe Spolaore (University of Padova)
Gabriele Tomasi (University of Padova)
Alberto Voltolini (University of Turin)


Michela Bordignon, Valentina Bortolami, Elisa Caldarola, Massimiliano Carrara, Luca Corti, Eleonora Cugini, Davide Dalla Rosa, Laura Dequal, Alessandro Esposito, Marco Ferrari, Armando Manchisi, Giovanna Miolli, Vittorio Morato, Barbara Santini, Niccolò Sbolci, Elena Tripaldi

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