Maya Kronfeld is an assistant professor in the Literature Program at Duke University. From 2020 to 2023 she was the Cotsen Fellow in Humanistic Studies at the Princeton Society of Fellows. Her research brings together the history of the philosophy of mind with literary studies, as well as the philosophy of music. Recent work appears in Philosophy and Literature, The Cambridge Companion to Philosophy and Literature, The Cambridge Guide to Kant and Literary Studies, Radical Philosophy, Jazz & Culture and the Johns Hopkins Guide to Critical Theory. She is also a professional jazz pianist and piano faculty at the Stanford Jazz Workshop.
Title: Consciousness and Philosophical Fiction: Hume, Kant, James
Abstract: I will present portions of my book manuscript, Spontaneous Form: Consciousness and Philosophical Fiction. Fictional renderings of consciousness can help to clarify and move beyond some of the key impasses in the history of the philosophy of mind. I trace a trajectory from Hume’s bundle problem through Kant’s notion of spontaneous combination to William James’ “feeling of relation.” I link this to parallel developments in the history of stream-of-consciousness fiction (Woolf) and its precursors (Poe). I argue, contra literary cognitivism, for a non-instrumentalizing account of fictional form and its epistemic value.