onsdag 3. juni 2009

"En fordømt løgner": Umberto Eco om fiksjon og vitenskap

Universitetet i Tartu har publisert en komplett video med Umberto Ecos foredrag i Tartu 6. mai, 'On the Ontology of Fictional Characters: a Semiotic Study'. Mitt spørsmål, og Ecos svar, er å finne i intervallet 01:11:25 - 01:14:15.

Ord for ord:
MT My name is Morten Tønnessen, I’m a PhD student at Department of Semiotics. And – you talked about the difference between physical existence and fictional existence. And I would like you to say something about what role fiction can be said to play within natural science, or applied science.

UE No... No, I missed ... the real question.

MT Let me finish. First, it’s obvious of course that imagination and creativity are fundamental traits of humans in many walks of life. And often in applied science, we start out with imagining something that does not exist – it’s totally mind-dependent; and then we carry it into life. So it actually turns into something with a physical existence. Isn’t that the work of fiction?

UE No! I... Take, for instance the cold fusion. Typical example of a scientific hoax. It was untrue. I don’t say that fiction is mistake – which is different. Ptolemy believed in good faith the Earth was still immobile, huh? – and the Sun turned. It was not making fiction – it was committing a mistake. Simple and believed. I say that there is fiction when the author pretends to say the truth, and asks you to pretend that you are believing it. In this case you are in a fictional world. If not, it’s a lie. If I tell you there is an elephant outside, and you naively go out to see whether it is there or not, that is not a case of fiction, I am only a damn liar, that’s all. And you are too much naive, hehe. Except, you are not Thomas Aquinas, because it seems that ... comrades told him, because he was only studying, huh? – 'Thomas, there is an ass flying on the skies', and... (mimics Thomas looking to the skies:) Uh? He went out to look, and, there was not... they laughed: Ahaha... And he said, ‘I believed it was more, very similar... that there was an ass flying.’ Then the monk lied, ehehehe...

Kommentar: Ecos definisjon av fiksjon, at "there is fiction when the author pretends to say the truth, and asks you to pretend that you are believing it", er grei. Moteksemplene hans later på den annen side ikke til å ha noe som helst å gjøre med spørsmålet mitt, hvor jeg omtaler fiksjon (innen vitenskap) som noe som angår noe som først forestilles og så blir virkeliggjort (som noe fysisk eksisterende). Ecos eksempler angår enten a) feilslåtte vitenskapelige teorier eller b) løgner/spøker. Hvorvidt noen av disse kvalifiserer som 'fiksjon' er en sak for seg selv.

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