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Literature as Thought Experiment

Many people share the intuition that by turning to works of literature something can be learned about the world. One way to explain the epistemic access to the world that fictional literature provides is by comparing it to thought experiments. Both – thought experiments and works of fiction – might be seen as imaginative exercises which help to find out what would or could happen if certain conditions were met. This comparison of fictional literature with thought experiments provides the point of departure for the contributions in our volume. It contributes to the discussion of an approach that has quite recently entered the field of the philosophy of literature.