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Philosophical fiction
FeaturesSignificant proportion devoted to discussion of questions normally addressed in discursive philosophy
Subgenres
Novel of ideas

Philosophical fiction refers to the class of works of fiction which devote a significant portion of their content to the sort of questions normally addressed in philosophy. These might explore any facet of the human condition, including the function and role of society, the nature and motivation of human acts, the purpose of life, ethics or morals, the role of art in human lives, the role of experience or reason in the development of knowledge, whether there exists free will, or any other topic of philosophical interest. Philosophical fiction works would include the so-called novel of ideas, including some science fiction, utopian and dystopian fiction, and bildungsroman.

There is no universally accepted definition of philosophical fiction, but a sampling of notable works can help to outline its history. Some philosophers write novels, plays, or short fiction in order to demonstrate or introduce their ideas. Common examples include Voltaire, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Thomas Mann, Hermann Hesse, Albert Camus, Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir and Ayn Rand. Authors who admire certain philosophers may incorporate their ideas into the principal themes or central narratives of novels. Some examples include The Moviegoer (Kierkegaard), Thus Spake Zarathustra (Nietzsche), Wittgenstein's Mistress (Wittgenstein), and Speedboat (post-structuralism).

See also

References