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Philosophy Talk

The Scandalous Truth About Memoir

Why should anyone read—let alone write—a memoir?

A memoir is a personal narrative written about a pivotal time in the author’s life. While the story is told from a particular perspective, the events recounted are supposed to be fact, not fiction. But what exactly counts as truth in memoir? Is the distinction between “literal truth” and “emotional truth” just a way of shirking responsibility for fabricating falsehoods? What other ethical responsibilities does the memoirist have—for example, when it comes to exposing other people’s secrets? And why should anyone read—or write—memoirs in the first place? Josh and Ray take a trip down memory lane with Helena de Bres from Wellesley College, author of Artful Truths: The Philosophy of Memoir. Sunday, May 29 at 11 am.

Devon Strolovitch studied medieval Judeo-Portuguese manuscripts and earned a PhD in Linguistics from Cornell University before coming to KALW. He is the Senior Producer of Philosophy Talk, and since 2007 has hosted Fog City Blues, the weekly digest of Blues in the Bay Area and beyond.