Imagining in response to fiction: unpacking the infrastructure

Philosophical Explorations 23 (1):31-48 (2019)

Authors
Alon Chasid
Bar-Ilan University, Ramat Gan
Abstract
Works of fiction are alleged to differ from works of nonfiction in instructing their audience to imagine their content. Indeed, works of fiction have been defined in terms of this feature: they are works that mandate us to imagine their content. This paper examines this definition of works of fiction, focusing on the nature of the activity that ensues in response to reading or watching fiction. Investigating how imaginings function in other contexts, I show, first, that they presuppose a cognitive infrastructure encompassing at least one additional kind of mental state, whose role is to determine, to some degree, truth in an imaginary world. I then discuss the implications for the definition of fiction, showing that the definition should be refined to accommodate the structure that imagining presupposes: a work counts as fiction just in case it mandates us, not only to imagine, but to engage in a more complex mental activity, an activity that in addition to imagining, involves positing a backdrop for our imaginings.
Keywords belief-like imagining  works of fiction  Kendall Walton  fictional worlds  imagination  imaginary truth
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Reprint years 2020
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DOI 10.1080/13869795.2019.1663249
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References found in this work BETA

The Transparency of Experience.Michael G. F. Martin - 2002 - Mind and Language 17 (4):376-425.
Imagining Fact and Fiction.Stacie Friend - 2008 - In Kathleen Stock & Katherine Thomsen-Jones (eds.), New Waves in Aesthetics. Palgrave-Macmillan. pp. 150-169.
Mimesis as Make-Believe.Kendall L. Walton - 1990 - Synthese 109 (3):413-434.

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Citations of this work BETA

Inheriting the World.Michel-Antoine Xhignesse - 2020 - Journal of Applied Logics 7 (2):163-70.

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