Fiction: Nietzsche to Chat GPT

Eugene Lang College Lib Arts: Literary Studies

Liberal Arts
Undergraduate Course
Degree Students
Fiction: Nietzsche to Chat GPT
Fall 2024
Taught By: Julie Beth Napolin
Section: A

CRN: 17341

Credits: 4

It’s traditional in philosophy to draw a sharp distinction between truth and lies, and our cultural moment is hung up on authenticity or what is “genuine.” But according to Nietzsche, “truth is a mobile army of metaphors.” We use language to describe, and also create, what is true. Kant, who argued that lying is immoral under any circumstance, holds a central place for the imagination in relationship to the real. If some measure of creativity is necessary to assert truth and reality, then they start looking a bit like fiction. Is there a reality—of history, memory, politics, identity, biology etc.—outside of fiction? How do narrative techniques compel belief in the stories we tell and the images, bodies, and events we present? How does fiction consolidate who or what gets to decide the truth? Can language models, like Chat GPT, simply engage this mobile army, or is human imagination required? This course will focus on philosophical, literary, political, artistic and cultural texts at the tenuous border between truth and fiction. Texts may include such authors as Machiavelli, Nietzsche, Marx, Freud, Lacan, Glissant, and Butler; such classic and contemporary fictions of self-fashioning and unreliability as Melville, Flaubert, Chesnutt, James, Larsen, Cortazar, Octavia Butler, and Hari Kunzu; the films of Hitchcock, Antonioni, Dash, and Tajiri; and such phenomena and concepts as deep fakes, Chat GPT, minstrelsy, passing, fantasy, hysteria, authoritarianism, and celebrity.

College: Eugene Lang College Lib Arts (LC)

Department: Literary Studies (LIT)

Campus: New York City (GV)

Course Format: Seminar (R)

Modality: In-Person

Max Enrollment: 18

Add/Drop Deadline: September 9, 2024 (Monday)

Online Withdrawal Deadline: November 17, 2024 (Sunday)

Seats Available: Yes

* Seats available but reserved for a specific population.

Status: Open*

* Status information is updated every few minutes. The status of this course may have changed since the last update. Open seats may have restrictions that will prevent some students from registering. Updated: 1:30am EDT 6/14/2024

Meeting Info:
Days: Monday, Wednesday
Times: 12:00pm - 1:40pm
Building: TBD
Room: TBD
Date Range: 8/26/2024 - 12/9/2024