• Fiction as Philosophy: Reading the Work of Christine de Pizan and Luce Irigaray to Write a Hermeneutics of Socially Transformative Fiction-mediated Philosophy

      Sweetman, Robert; Carr, Allyson Ann; Institute for Christian Studies (Institute for Christian Studies, 2011-06)
      This dissertation proposes to examine the work of scholars Christine de Pizan and Luce Irigaray in order to develop the possibilities of fiction in philosophy for the purposes of social transformation. Using four of her major narrative texts (The Mutacion of Fortune, the City of Ladies, the Path of Long Study and the Vision) I show how Christine employs the complex array of hermeneutical tools available to her in fictionalized ways as a means of training her readers into re-writing their understanding of themselves and their contexts. Alongside such re-writings, I show that she understands herself to have a particular vocation for educating the powers of France towards ethical action in their governance, and that she does so in these works in the form of philosophically oriented fictionalizations. I use the work of Luce Irigaray to explore a philosopher from the twentieth and twenty-first century who uses narrative and hermeneutical tools that bear a family resemblance to Christine's. Tracing Irigaray's formulations on the necessity of sexual difference I show how she re-tells stories from myth and history in such a way as to develop the sexual difference she desires. Finally, having engaged with these two philosophers, I use the hermeneutical work of Hans-Georg Gadamer to present my own work on how well-crafted fiction can be used to build philosophical concepts and understandings that are not yet available in our world, but which become available to us through our participation in the new fictionalized contexts and fictional worlds we create. I show how it is through understanding the possibilities this kind of philosophical and fictionalized utopic thinking holds that social transformation rooted in the world-building capabilities of individual persons can occur.