Meeting number 20 on 10 June 2013.

People who attended: Dave, Masood.
The nominal subject was: "what is the purpose of fiction?"

1 comment:

masood said...

What we talked about. Good and bad writing. Philosophical and technical writing is not suited to the format of prose. It should be laid out in decimal bullet point style. (Like Wittgenstein's Tractatus.) Or as arguments with premises and conclusions clearly stated. Prose obscures the structure of arguments. ... Newspaper articles are written in a strange way where the facts are not stated in a chronological order but rather in order of importance. And with repetition for emphasis. ... They do this for 'effective communication'. Problem with this becoming persuasion. Communication as manipulation. Is there such a thing as good propaganda? Rhetoric. University Trivium: logic, grammar and rhetoric. The modern equivalent of these might be thinking, writing and talking. Basic skills of human communication. ... Lord Reith's mission to educate, inform, entertain. ... Writing vs talking. Difference between the two is not just their medium (ie marks on a page vs noises). ... Communication is more than just it's content. For example parables say more than just what their message is. Because of the way they say it. But sometimes the message is obscured by their poetical way of expression? People say: what on earth does this parable mean? (Parable in Kafka's 'The Trial'.) Parables as an example of fiction. What does fiction do? Why do we like it? How important is the expression of ideas in fiction? For example in 'The Matrix' how integral are the philosophical ideas to the fiction as a whole. Would it still work as an action movie without the ideas? ... We like fiction because we can empathise with the characters. Or are we enjoying their misery (schadenfreude)? Catharsis. Sport as drama. The relative importance of the ending. A novel with the conclusion missing. Compare this with a novel which is just the conclusion. (A football match without the final score (because the last minute is missing) compared with just learning the final score.) A story is about the journey as much the destination. ... The purpose of sex and violence in fiction. If it serves no purpose it is called 'gratuitous'? Does violence in fiction serve a purpose? Does it predispose us to actual violence or does it reduce any natural inclination to violence by giving us an outlet for our impulses through imagined acts?

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