Morality, fiction, and possibility

Philosophers' Imprint 4 (3):1-27 (2004)
Abstract
Authors have a lot of leeway with regard to what they can make true in their story. In general, if the author says that p is true in the fiction we’re reading, we believe that p is true in that fiction. And if we’re playing along with the fictional game, we imagine that, along with everything else in the story, p is true. But there are exceptions to these general principles. Many authors, most notably Kendall Walton and Tamar Szabó Gendler, have discussed apparent counterexamples when p is “morally deviant”. Many other statements that are conceptually impossible also seem to be counterexamples. In this paper I do four things. I survey the range of counterexamples, or at least putative counterexamples, to the principles. Then I look to explanations of the counterexamples. I argue, following Gendler, that the explanation cannot simply be that morally deviant claims are impossible. I argue that the distinctive attitudes we have towards moral propositions cannot explain the counterexamples, since some of the examples don’t involve moral concepts. And I put forward a proposed explanation that turns on the role of ‘higher-level concepts’, concepts that if they are satisfied are satisfied in virtue of more fundamental facts about the world, in fiction, and in imagination.
Keywords Aesthetics, Imagination, Resistance, Fictionality, Dissertation
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 11,007
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Citations of this work BETA
Shen-yi Liao (2013). Moral Persuasion and the Diversity of Fictions. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 94 (3):269-289.
Amy Kind (2011). The Puzzle of Imaginative Desire. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 89 (3):421-439.
Peter Kung (2010). Imagining as a Guide to Possibility. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 81 (3):620-663.

View all 8 citations

Similar books and articles
Analytics

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2009-01-28

Total downloads

99 ( #11,270 of 1,101,157 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

7 ( #34,482 of 1,101,157 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Start a new thread
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.