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The Purpose(s) of Story


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#1 Cukeman

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Posted 11 November 2017 - 08:30 AM

Here's an interesting idea. Is it better for stories to explore what we know and have experienced, or create something new that's more idea based and theoretical/inspirational for us to grow towards for our betterment? Clearly both exist, but I feel people tend to be drawn toward one more than the other.


Edited by Cukeman, 12 November 2017 - 05:23 AM.


#2 ZoriaRPG

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 05:11 AM

If you mean, an alegoric story, I find these to be annoying.

#3 Cukeman

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 05:25 AM

I mean factual non-fiction versus fiction & fantasy.

 

And what we can learn from the past versus what we can learn from fiction & fantasy.


Edited by Cukeman, 12 November 2017 - 05:25 AM.


#4 Sheik

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 05:41 AM

What do you mean when you say "for us to grow towards for our betterment"?

Do you mean for us to learn what is morally good? If so one distinction that we can apply here is that non-fiction covers facts whereas fiction covers possibilites. We cannot infer from how the world is how the world should be (Hume has shown this in his 'A Treatsie of Human Nature', 1896, if you are interested). Given how moral sentences are sentences about how we should be(have) one could argue that only non-factual texts could teach us anything about the matter.



#5 Cukeman

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 07:30 AM

Not sure what you're driving at. We can learn things we don't know by reading about historical non-fiction because it's about things we haven't experienced. I'm more thinking about the impact of learning via fantasy and sci-fi versus real history. People seem to have strong preferences on that.



#6 Sheik

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 07:49 AM

What I am getting at is that from a sentence about how the world is (i.e. a sentence presenting a fact) we cannot infer a sentence about how the world should be. The other way around doesn't work either. (From "the poor are miserable" we cannot infer "the poor should be miserable" and from "you should not cross the street when the traffic lights are red" does not follow "you do in fact not cross the street when the traffic lights are right".)

But if all you are getting at is learning things we didn't know earlier then the answer must be (and this trivial) that we can only learn news from things we did not know before. That can, of course, be the historical past, too, because from something having happened does not follow that we also know about it. In this sense then it doesn't matter whether we are dealing with fact or fiction so long that it satisfies the condition that we didn't know about it before learning about it.


Edited by Sheik, 12 November 2017 - 07:51 AM.


#7 strike

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 09:01 AM

Cukeman, could you explain what you mean in more detail? What you are saying sounds interesting but I am not exactly sure what it is you are saying currently. Maybe an example could help or something.


Edited by strike, 12 November 2017 - 09:02 AM.


#8 Cukeman

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 10:14 AM

Cukeman, could you explain what you mean in more detail? What you are saying sounds interesting but I am not exactly sure what it is you are saying currently. Maybe an example could help or something.

 

 

I'm trying.

 

Our reaction to the message of a story can be influenced by the nature of the story. Suppose you're trying to communicate something using a story as an example, something like "government policy X is bad, and can lead to war". You could do that through a historical drama or a sci-fi fantasy. I feel like some people tend to be dismissive of a story's message if the world and action is too imaginative and far-fetched, while they might take a historical non-fiction more seriously. I also find that some people prefer more imaginative fantasies, and still take their messages seriously despite the magic and crazy gadgetry.

 

Does that help explain the conversation I'm trying to spark?


Edited by Cukeman, 12 November 2017 - 10:15 AM.

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#9 Sheik

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 11:31 AM

So you are asking about the status of the evidence provided to back up a premise, using refernce to fact or fiction argumentatively.

That's an interesting point. It's also interesting to my mind that the same sentence - "government policy X is bad, and can lead to war" in your example - can be backed up with several vastly different references - fact or fiction in your example. That seems to me to point to the interesting point that both fact and fiction can carry across the same message (maybe sharing the same propositional value).


Edited by Sheik, 12 November 2017 - 01:02 PM.

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#10 strike

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 11:50 AM

Yeah, that makes more sense. 

 

Something interesting and inescapable is that what you say and the way you say it are inseparable. So deciding whether to convey your message through fiction or non-fiction is not some arbitrary choice- the two messages being conveyed are inherently different. For example, say you want to say your example, "government X policy is wrong and can lead to war". You could make a dogmatic documentary giving the facts about the policy and the details and all that. Or you could make a piece of fiction, imagination, like Avatar or Nausica, which may be way more effective, as they transcend politics and cyclical argumentation. The two approaches do not convey the same message. The approach matters. Sometimes fiction allows a type of generalization that non-fiction cannot avoid. It lets us see things in a more idealized way, more compact and clean and "real".


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#11 Cukeman

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 12:27 PM

So you asking about the status of the evidence provided to back up a premise, using refernce to fact or fiction argumentatively.
 

 

Well "evidence" is a much stronger word than I would use, as the messages I'm thinking of are more based on the principles of a group or a person, and based on reactions habitual to humanity (observed through experience), rather than a scientific proof.

 

 


That's an interesting point. It's also interesting to my mind that the same sentence - "government policy X is bad, and can lead to war" in your example - can be backed up with several vastly different references - fact or fiction in your example. That seems to me to point to the interesting point that both fact and fiction can carry across the same message (maybe sharing the same propositional value).

 

 

That is very interesting.

 

Yeah, that makes more sense. 

 

Something interesting and inescapable is that what you say and the way you say it are inseparable. So deciding whether to convey your message through fiction or non-fiction is not some arbitrary choice- the two messages being conveyed are inherently different. For example, say you want to say your example, "government X policy is wrong and can lead to war". You could make a dogmatic documentary giving the facts about the policy and the details and all that. Or you could make a piece of fiction, imagination, like Avatar or Nausica, which may be way more effective, as they transcend politics and cyclical argumentation. The two approaches do not convey the same message. The approach matters. Sometimes fiction allows a type of generalization that non-fiction cannot avoid. It lets us see things in a more idealized way, more compact and clean and "real".

 

Can you elaborate what you mean when you say that "the two messages conveyed are inherently different"? I'm not quite grasping your meaning yet.

 

I agree that a fiction can provide a "safe" sense of detachment from specific cultures and political positions, on the other hand someone's reaction to a fictional illustration might be "yeah but I don't believe that outcome would happen in real life".

 

Perhaps "illustration of a point through factual or fictional storytelling" may have been a better way to describe what I meant in the OP.


Edited by Cukeman, 12 November 2017 - 03:04 PM.


#12 Sheik

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 01:09 PM

on the other hand someone's reaction to a fictional illustration might be "yeah but I don't believe that outcome would happen in real life".

Well, yeah that's a thing. If you illustrate a possibility through fiction you still have to provide reasons why this possbility might carry over into factuality. If you reference facts to begin with you don't have to show that it is likely that something such as the point illustrated might be a real life occourance. However, factuality is much poorer then possbility (technically put: the set of sentences describing every factuality is smaller than the set of sentences describing every possbility. However, it is also true that every element of the set of sentences about facts is also an element of the set of sentences about possbilites and logically speaking the complain that "I don't believe that outcome would happen in real life" implies a leap of faith from possbility to fact that in truth isn't all that big. In this sense people are too impressed with facts and too little bothered by fiction).


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