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Fact and Fiction: Creation, Forms, Boundaries

05.19.2017 – 05.20.2017

Event Summary

This symposium used the contested and porous border between fact and fiction as the point of departure for a wide-ranging cross-disciplinary dialogue. Understanding fiction not as a literary genre but as an operative category in various modes, disciplines, and discourses, participants identified the general features that define imaginary worlds, while also considering the historical and cultural variability of practices, the specificity of media, and the blurring of distinctions. Why and how do we create fictions, and what kinds of truths can these fictions convey? Should fiction be defined in ontological, logical, or pragmatic terms? How do human minds distinguish between factual and fictional narratives, actual and virtual realities? Can we identify “signposts” of fictionality and factuality? Bringing together perspectives from the humanities, social sciences, cognitive sciences, and art practice, the conference offered an exploratory approach to these questions.

The symposium was conducted as part of the Fact and Fiction research project at the Neubauer Collegium.