Understanding the World

  • Vincenzo Cicchelli
  • Sylvie Octobre
Part of the Consumption and Public Life book series (CUCO)


The cosmopolitan reasoning that individuals develop with regard to cultural products and artworks constitutes an outlook on the world that belongs simultaneously to the realm of knowledge and imagination: in fact, the three modes of reception, based on realism, verisimilitude, and fictional escapism, often all blend together. Most importantly, these kinds of contacts with alterity through artworks and cultural products can be combined in different ways to provide a representation of the world. The use of artworks and cultural products—especially when these take a narrative form—not only lets individuals craft their own world view, but also allows them to engage in critical thinking on politics and ethics in their attempt to understand their society. This is because all narratives—by virtue of the fact that they necessarily structure actions and events—fundamentally elicit the approval or disapproval of their recipients, leading to a multitude of qualitative, moral, and value-based judgements.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vincenzo Cicchelli
    • 1
  • Sylvie Octobre
    • 1
  1. 1.GEMASSCNRS/University of Paris-SorbonneParisFrance

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