The Literary Theory Toolkit: A Compendium of Concepts and Methods

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Oxford Encyclopedia of American Literature. The Cambridge Guide to Literature in English. Continuum Encyclopedia of British Literature -. Reference Guide to World Literature. Encyclopedia of Life Writing: Autobiographical and Biographical Forms This is the first substantial reference work in English on the various forms that constitute "life writing. It includes entries on genres and subgenres, national and regional traditions from around the world, and important auto-biographical writers, as well a. International Encyclopedia of Linguistics, 2nd ed. The Encyclopedia encompasses the full range of topics in linguistics, including such areas as historical, comparative, formal, mathematical, functional, philosophical, and sociolinguistics.

Dictionary of Linguistics and Phonetics. It contains articles, including short biographical entries, providing comprehensive and authoritative coverage of all aspects of sociolinguistics. A Dictionary of Sociolinguistics. The first party attempts to defend, to refine or to modify the original claim in light of the challenges brought by the other s.

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Plato: oneness and otherness, collection and division The dialectical process has commonly been regarded as a sort of engine for philosophical progress — perhaps the most powerful sort. Typically, dialecticians hold that thinking begins in a murky, incoherent morass of many, different, other opinions — some having a glimmer or partial grasp on the truth.

Through engagements with these others along with their negativity, a more complete and comprehensive grasp of the one or oneness that is truth emerges. This endless back-and-forth is, according to Kant, a trap rather than a path to truth. Hegel has, however, become misleadingly associated with perhaps the most well-known model of dialectic. He did regard history as a dialectical process characterized by the opposition of negative moments as well as aufgehoben moments of progress, but he did not formalize the process in terms of theses and antitheses.

It was instead the poet Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller — who developed that model and an influential fellow philosopher, Jacob Gottlieb Fichte — , who deployed it with vigour. The Holy Family, Like the Hegelians, Marx and Engels regarded history as a progressive, dialectical process driven by the clash of oppositions.

But for Marx and Engels the process entails not the clash of theories, ideas or Spirit Geist but instead the struggle of economic class. Critical theorists of many different stripes have worked to develop, refine and synthesize ancient, Hegelian and Marxian dialectics. The text is, in fact, full of analogies. Socrates describes a cave where humans are kept literally in the dark about reality a—a. He describes a ship of fools, piloted not by someone with nautical understanding but by those clever enough to gain power a—c.

Analogies make it possible for us to engage our imaginations in philosophical thought. This is one reason why analogies are such useful philosophical tools. Analogies in reasoning Analogies, of course, have many uses in our lives. They advance ideas in poetry, fiction, film, morals, religion, government and sport. One of their most important uses may be found in the law. When lawyers cite precedents in making their cases, they are appealing to arguments from analogy. Reasoning in empirical science may also be thought of as relying upon analogies.

Whenever we encounter a new phenomenon and explain it by appeal to a general law based upon past experience, we rely on the claim that the new phenomenon is analogous to those of the past. Argument and illustration Analogies can serve two different functions in philosophy.


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Sometimes, as seems often the case in Plato, for example, they serve simply to illustrate. When Socrates compares the Good with the sun, he may simply be using the image of the sun to help bring to life his arguments about the Good. On other occasions, however, the analogy can be an integral part of an argument. Here the analogy with the watch is not meant simply to illustrate a point. Rather, the analogy is supposed to show why we should conclude that the universe has a creator. Strong and weak Analogical reasoning, then, is both powerful and important. There are, however, dangers. Analogies can mislead as well as illuminate.

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Analogies can be weak as well as strong. But how can we tell the difference?


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  4. The simplest way of making the distinction is: Strong analogy: an analogy is strong when the things compared 1 share a large or decisive number of relevant similarities and 2 do not exhibit a large or decisive number of relevant differences. Weak analogy: an analogy is weak when the things compared 1 do not share a large or decisive number of relevant similarities or 2 do exhibit a large or decisive number of relevant differences.

    Consider the argument from design. Is the analogy at the heart of the argument a strong or a weak one? As Cicero —43 bce and David Hume point out, there are a number of crucial dissimilarities between an artefact and the universe. Therefore, while certain similarities do exist between artefacts and the universe, their argumentative force is countered by relevant dissimilarities. A good analogy should compare things exhibiting similarities whose number and relevance exceeds that of any dissimilarities between them. Whenever something enduring appears to be so patently false, we should invoke the principle of charity see 3.

    In this case, the apparent absurdity is a consequence of a change of linguistic usage. Once this etymological fact is acknowledged, our tired old saying becomes much more interesting. Some possible answers to this question can be seen in how one could respond to exceptions to rules proposed by David Hume. There appear to be exceptions to both of these rules. One Hume himself discussed. He asks us to imagine a person who has never seen a particular shade of blue. What if we were to place before this person a series of shades of blue, each one next to its most similar shade, so that we have a range of subtle gradations.

    If we were to remove the shade that the person had never seen, would they be able to imagine this missing shade, which they had never actually seen? Hume admits they could, which means that in at least one case, a person can have an idea without ever having the corresponding impression.

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    A charitable rendering of this remark might hold that the exception reveals something about the nature of the rule. That is to say, Hume never put forward the rule as an absolute, exceptionless description of all of nature. Rather, it is a rule that describes a general pattern in the overwhelming majority of cases — but not in all of them. Rules need not be absolute — they may sometimes admit exceptions. Weakening the rule to make room is one way to deal with them.

    Sometimes a survivor of trauma reports being unaware of the traumatic events at the time they occurred, only to suffer extremely vivid flashbacks later. In such a case, the later idea the recollection might be thought to be more vivid than the original impression the actual traumatic experience. For example, he might reformulate his rule such that it holds true except in cases where the resulting idea is modified by some additional, supervening mechanism such as a post-traumatic reaction.

    In short, the very fact that we can show that something which appears to falsify the rule is in some important way different from cases where the rule normally applies shows that the rule is sound. The proving of rules by exceptions, therefore, can be understood, not as a piece of nonsense, but as a sound procedure in rational inquiry. Whenever a rule appears to admit of an exception, there may be a need to revisit the rule, to decide if the status of the rule needs reconsidering, if the substance of the rule needs amending or reinterpretation, or whether it just needs to be abandoned.

    Anomalies can often be dismissed as mere exceptions or as phenomena that only appear to violate the rule. But just how many anomalies can we tolerate before we ought to abandon a rule entirely? Answering that question is no simple matter. Baker and P.

    To help us on our way, both scientists and philosophers have made use of metaphor and imagery. Just as the sun is that which makes physical objects visible, we are told, so the Good is that which makes the world intelligible. This is again an odd idea, but to help us understand it, we are often given a simpler analogue. Think of a carrot, for example, which is a single object one can take a slice out of at any stage, thus seeing what that carrot is at a particular point in space.

    Both the carrot and the sun are examples of intuition pumps. They are not philosophical arguments, but rather images, stories or analogies that give us something vivid and concrete to help us understand what would otherwise be obscure and abstract. Daniel C. Dennett — introduced the term in a criticism of John R. It is extremely useful to be able to recognize and use intuition pumps, as Dennett himself does with exceptional flair.

    When used well, they can be a powerful tool in aiding the understanding. But if we start thinking about the brain as like a piece of computer hardware and the mind like the program that is running in it, it is much easier to begin to see what the theory is getting at. Problems Intuition pumps, however, can lead us astray.

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    Sometimes what is in fact no more than an intuition pump may appear to us as an argument. Locke asks whether, if we had the souls of ancient Greeks, but knew nothing of their lives, we would consider ourselves to be the same persons they were. On the basis of their intuitions most answer this question in the negative, but notice that no argument has been put forward that we are not, in fact, the same persons as those ancient Greeks. This makes the question under consideration much more vivid, but it is not to be confused with offering an argument. Both readers and writers can equally fall into this confusion.

    Being able, then, clearly to distinguish intuition pumps from arguments is very useful. Equally useful is recognizing that intuition pumps are no more than aids to comprehension or stimuli to further thought. So, you have to be careful how you draw the connection from the intuition pump to what is being explained.

    In calling the gene selfish, Dawkins is merely trying to help us understand that the gene does not do what is best for the organism as a whole — it merely duplicates itself. But in taking the term too literally, people have misunderstood both Dawkins and the consequences of accepting a gene-centred understanding of evolution. Perhaps this shows that the intuition pump he chose was not a good one.

    At the very least, it shows the danger of employing this particular expository tool.