The Genuine Attitude View of Fictional Belief

In Bradley H., Sullivan-Bissett E. & Noordhof P. (eds.), Art and the Nature of Belief. Oxford University Press (forthcoming)
The distinct-attitude view of fictional narratives is a standard position in contemporary aesthetics. This is the view that cognitive attitudes formed in response to fictions are a distinct kind of mental state from beliefs formed in response to non-fictional scenarios, such as pretend or imaginary states. In this paper we argue that the balance of functional, behavioral, and neuroscientific evidence best supports the genuine-attitude view of belief. According to the genuine-attitude view, cognitive responses to fictions are genuine beliefs that are not a distinct kind of mental state from the beliefs that we form in response to non-fictional scenarios. We consider the implications of the genuine-attitude view for debates at the intersection of epistemology, cognitive science, and philosophy of mind.
Keywords fiction  belief  aesthetics  functionalism  behavior  folk psychology
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