Critical knowledge, scientific knowledge and the truth of literature
in The new aestheticism

This chapter aims to explore the claim about truth that lies at the centre of the 'new aesthetics' and to see what it might be possible to know about art in a 'non-scientific' way. Heidegger argues that truth as correspondence relies upon a more primordial understanding of truth: the idea that truth is an uncovering or what he calls aletheia. The disciplines often claim to offer knowledge about the text that is true in the same way scientific knowledge is true: as if criticism did have the character of scientific knowledge. Art in the form of offering a fugitive ethical experience, is, for J. M. Bernstein, one part of a source for 'a challenge to contemporary moral thought as well as a substantive alternative to it'. Identification is clearly important in reading, in the way that literature opens up a different form of truth to 'truth-only cognition'.

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