Some very interesting discussions going on at Dan Green’s The Reading Experience, and continued at Steve Ersinghaus‘ site regarding the value and impact of literature on the reader, from post made at Obooki’s Page.
Even though I may disagree with the point of whether or not we can find something of philosophical interest within fiction, I think that depends upon reader experience just as does the enjoyment of the piece in the form of adventure, escape, language, or just as a time-filler.
Philosophy is the study of the nature of knowledge, and yet theories are based upon argument and not necessarily right or wrong. What I find is that I may come upon a scenario or a character or an event in a fictional piece that may exemplify theory that may have been first experienced in a textbook or in Consolation of Philosophy or in Plato. It may also produce a new twist that may question that experience. Then again, some real life conversations can teach both knowledge and philosophy as well. Why not take advantage of whatever opportunity we have to enhance that experience.
One thing that is pointed out in the post by Obooki rings a bell:
There are though two further possibilities I can think of for our
“life-changing” books, if I were inclined to list them: a) (…)
– and b) novels which (in that solipsistic and incestuous world of the
writer) change my life insofar as they change my style of writing or
add to my armoury.
I would strongly agree that the writing style is something that I read for, one of the major enjoyments for me is to discover and absorb some of what I learn about style and eloquence (without becoming copycat), and for a writer, that is seriously life-changing.