Title

Whose Truth?

Date of Award

2015

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Honors Thesis

Department

Philosophy

First Advisor

Jason Goldsmith

Abstract

Is objective reality verifiable or is all fact merely subjective experience? If the history of humanity has shown anything, it has shown that we are a species intent on explaining our environment and place within it. Most every philosophical pursuit is aimed at some version of this end. Mathematics and the physical sciences attempt to explain the universe by finding consistent order in the workings of nature. The social sciences attempt to explain the human race by finding consistent order in the behaviors of humans and human organizations. Literary and media studies attempt to explain the meanings that humans attach to their environment by finding consistent order in the presentation of narratives. This project will focus on a form of the third line of inquiry: narratology. As opposed to the logician's approach to truth value, the narratologist tends to concern himself less with objective, universal truth and more with the meaning behind an overall narrative. "Narratology - at least in its classical period - practically never ponders the alethic potential of narrative, the relations of the narrative text with truth or falsehood, the nature of the fictional as opposed to the real, the being of narratively represented worlds" (Prince & Noble, 543). Surely, however, we can find some bets in a narrative that we can readily confirm or deny. A story, fiction or non-fiction, is told. Though the story surely contains propositions that are less than truthful, it seems silly to suggest that we cannot prove the truth or falsity of one of these propositions. Shouldn't we be able to confirm or deny some aspect of the story? Therein lies the problem. ,,,7c live in a world of media spin. The same collection of data can be used to tell opposing stories. Under such circumstances, how does one determine truth? The primary goal of a story is to persuade the reader to believe. There is no guarantee, however, that the story contains any truth whatever. What connects believability, veracity, and truth? The scope of this project will be two-fold. First, I will examine, through a narratological lens, the major facets of story-telling with the goal of determining how a story, believable or not, is constructed and, therefore, how it might point to reality or truth. Second, I will present an original creative work that exemplifies my narratological findings.

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