I realize that Ishmael is a fiction, and although it is not fact, I believe that much of it is truth. Do you fully believe within yourself that what you wrote in Ishmael is truth?
The books of Plato are also fiction, in the sense that the dialogues that take place within them never took place in actual fact but rather are as deliberately contrived as the one in Ishmael.
Would you ask Plato if he “fully believed within himself” that what he wrote in The Republic is truth? I think Plato would say, as I do, “I don’t know whether what I have to say is ‘truth,’ but it’s what I have to say.”
Do you imagine that I would deliberately set down things I consider false?