Knowledge, Ethics and Choices: Theorizing the Functional Matrix of Literature as a Humanities Discipline

Bhumika Sharma


One may inaugurate the contemporary post-theory era with thinking beyond the theoretical aspects of literature. Or, in other words, it may facilitate a revision of literary theories in terms of exploring their functionality. But, a complex question involved here is, what may be its implications. How may it affect various disciplines especially the Humanities which are, unlike Sciences, deal with the abstract issues like truth, reality, ethicality, justice and many more like that? With these questions, the present paper endeavours to address- What is the nature of the knowledge created by humanities’ disciplines like literature and how can it be used for renovating existing socio-political structures. Are the disciplines of humanities required to be more interactive with the sciences in the present technological age? Does such interaction give a more ‘holistic’ view of knowledge essential for creating a sustainable society? Comprehending the dialogic process of what it is and what it should be, the paper probes into the interactive epistemology of interdisciplinary knowledge. Since the disciplines of humanities like literature are directly linked to the behavioural pattern that is always subject to change, it explains their functionality in a game-theoric framework. A game-theoric model by virtue of its play with ‘relativity’ serves as an appropriate model to explore the functional possibilities of literature as an academic discipline. The knowledge produced in Humanities stream helps to understand the underlying ‘relativity’ of varied constituents of socio-cultural designs. With reference to the game-theoric account of well-known theorists like Lewis, Nash, Edna Ullmann-Margalit, the present paper highlights the role of speculation and anticipation in formulation of socio-cultural ethics and its strategic role in creating cultural choices. Perhaps, the functionality of literature lies in, understanding the mathematical equations of knowledge, ethics and cultural choices that work out institutional structures and generate systems. It pushes literary theories for being more equilibrium oriented and provide working strategies than merely becoming critical and assuming a perfectionist disposition.


Knowledge; Functionality; Interactive Epistemology; Relativity; Game Theory; Socio-cultural Ethics; and Strategies

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