Esther M. Zimmer Lederberg
Counter Factuals in Literature, Art and Poetry

A discussion of counter-factual "possibles" during the Victorian era, in literature, art, and poetry.

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Mr. Pecksniff
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August Leopold Egg
Past and Present I

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August Leopold Egg
Past and Present II

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August Leopold Egg
Past and Present III

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William Holman Hunt
The Awakening
Conscience
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Bob Thin Illustrations

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References

Antinomies are very convenient as a tool of rhetoric (rhetoric understood in the sense of Aristotle, as the art of persuasion, based upon the enthymeme). This is the distinction between science (or "logic", the hard, closed fist of the educated), as opposed to the arguments used to move the uneducated, represented by the open hand. Over centuries, the meaning of counterfactual "truths" has been questioned. However, rhetoric replaces "reality" with persuasive arguments, and a machine that grinds out contradictions whenever convenient can be a very persuasive tool. Modalities introduce the possibilities of antinomies (or contradictions while nevertheless never seeming to make logical errors).

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