chapter  11
Epistemic Cognition in Literary Reasoning
Pages 19

Epistemic cognition in literary reasoning refers to how people and communities of readers go about understanding literary texts. It encompasses the nature of knowledge conveyed in and knowable from literature and the processes of ascertaining knowledge conveyed in literature, i.e. the reasoning processes, beliefs, and values that enter into interpretation of the knowledge conveyed in and knowable from any specific literary work. There are several challenges associated with explicating epistemic cognition in literary reasoning, not the least of which is defining what constitutes literature. A second challenge is that diverse disciplines contribute theoretically and empirically to the nature of epistemic cognition in literary reasoning. In this chapter we first take up the issue of what defines a literary work and the nature of the knowledge conveyed or knowable from it. We then discuss the applicability to literary reasoning of a framework on epistemic cognition articulated by Chinn et al. (2011). We use the dimensions of epistemic cognition in that framework to organize our discussion of epistemic cognition in literary reasoning as informed by theoretical and empirical traditions in literary theory and criticism, language processing, reading comprehension, and psychological research on narrative and social cognition.