This is a class on epistemology, aesthetics, and literary form. We will read major works in empiricism and moral philosophy alongside poetry and fiction in several genres. We’ll ask, for example, how do poetry, fiction, and the visual arts recruit and account for perceptual experience or consider material and natural objects? What happens when the empirical psychology of consciousness or the categories of the sublime, beautiful, and picturesque take narrative or poetic form? What sort of ethical models follow from formal or generic decisions? We’ll focus throughout on how these topics have been discussed across the history of literary studies, and we’ll pay close attention to current debates in the field, including those prompted by new formalisms and materialisms, critical race studies, cognitive literary studies, and the digital humanities. Authors include Locke, Behn, Defoe, Pope, Addison, Hume, Burke, Sterne, Smith, Kant, and Wordsworth.