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ABSTRACT. In this paper, I examine the (socio)ontological-epistemological setup that enabled Richard Wright, through Native Son, to reveal truths about race as a lived, social phenomenon in our world. Relying upon Wright’s own description of how he conceived Bigger Thomas (given in “How Bigger Was Born”), I argue that the fictional character, Bigger Thomas, is a character imagined subsequent to and made possible by Wright’s conceptualization of the concept BIGGER THOMAS via the discovery of instantiations of this concept in the lived world. Using fictional Bigger’s relation to real-world structures, I show how fictional Bigger enables us to gain true, reliable beliefs that some possible Bigger exists and lives in our world, now, as well as gain true, reliable beliefs about such a Bigger. pp. 111–127

Keywords: socio-ontology; epistemology; fiction; lived experience; conceive; possible worlds

JANINE JONES
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University of North Carolina at Greensboro

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