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Keywords:

  • moral philosophy;
  • fiction;
  • non-fiction;
  • Martha Nussbaum

Abstract: This article is a response to Ole Martin Skilleås's “Knowledge and Imagination in Fiction and Biography.” The first section of the article summarizes the line of the argument in four theses: (1) What is real is more influential than what is made up; (2) there is no metaphysical chasm between autobiographers and us; (3) (auto)biographies are not just empirical; and (4) the moral lesson of a fiction need not be accepted. In the second section each of these theses is criticized. This criticism leads to the conclusion that we should welcome (auto)biographical texts in our moral investigations, but not at the cost of fictional texts. This conclusion is coupled with a proposal to formulate criteria to distinguish texts that matter from those that do not.