STEVEN E. COLE
We have now not merely explored the territory of pure understanding, and carefully surveyed every part of it, but have also measured its extent, and assigned to everything in it its rightful place. This domain is an island, enclosed by nature itself within unalterable limits. It is the land of truth -- enchanting name! -- surrounded by a wide and stormy ocean, the native home of illusion, where many a fog bank and many a swiftly melting iceberg give the deceptive appearance of farther shores, deluding the adventurous seafarer ever anew with empty hopes, and engaging him in enterprises which he can never abandon and yet is unable to carry to completion.
[ Kant, Critique of Pure Reason, A236-37, B294-95]
One of the oddities of recent literary theory is the centrality of the notion that in crucial ways, beliefs are essentially private -- that there is something in the nature of having a belief, or having any of the family of propositional attitudes which fall out from the concept of belief (having desire, fear, hope, and so on), which simply precludes public assessment. The oddity here is not in the assumption that beliefs are private, for surely such an assumption has defined much of the history of literary theory. Rather, the oddity comes from trying to square this assumption with the claim that literary theory, or more generally the study of literature, can be tied both to a critique of
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Publication information: Book title: Literary Theory after Davidson. Contributors: Reed Way Dasenbrock - Editor. Publisher: Pennsylvania State University Press. Place of publication: University Park, PA. Publication year: 1993. Page number: 59.
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