Imagining in response to fiction: unpacking the infrastructure

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


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.

Similar books and articles

Imagining and Fiction: Some Issues.Kathleen Stock - 2013 - Philosophy Compass 8 (10):887-896.
Only Imagine? Not Necessarily.Ruth Lorand - 2019 - British Journal of Aesthetics 59 (2):211-214.
Fiction as a Genre.Stacie Friend - 2012 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 112 (2pt2):179--209.
Ethics and Fictive Imagining.Brandon Cooke - 2014 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 72 (3):317-327.
Fictive Utterance And Imagining II.Stacie Friend - 2011 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 85 (1):163-180.
Emotional imagining and our responses to fiction.Fabian Dorsch - 2011 - Enrahonar: Quaderns de Filosofía 46:153-176.
Pornography and imagining about oneself.Kathleen Stock - 2012 - In Hans Maes & Jerrold Levinson (eds.), Art and Pornography: Philosophical Essays. Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press. pp. 116-136.
The Mental Functions of Appreciating Fiction.Naoko Ishida - 2016 - American Society for Aesthetics Graduate E-Journal 8 (2).
The evaluative character of imaginative resistance.Dustin R. Stokes - 2006 - British Journal of Aesthetics 46 (4):287-405.
Leave me out of it: De re, but not de se, imaginative engagement with fiction.Peter Alward - 2006 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 64 (4):451–459.
The Heterogeneity of the Imagination.Amy Kind - 2013 - Erkenntnis 78 (1):141-159.
Belief-Like Imagining and Correctness.Alon Chasid - 2021 - American Philosophical Quarterly 58 (2):147-160.


Added to PP

716 (#23,035)

6 months
123 (#32,560)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Alon Chasid
Bar-Ilan University, Ramat Gan

Citations of this work

Belief-Like Imagining and Correctness.Alon Chasid - 2021 - American Philosophical Quarterly 58 (2):147-160.
On the Irreducibility of Attitudinal Imagining.Alon Chasid - forthcoming - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy:1-33.
A Puzzle about Imagining Believing.Alon Chasid - 2021 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 13 (3):529-547.
Not by Imaginings Alone: On How Imaginary Worlds Are Established.Alon Chasid - 2021 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 7 (2):195-212.

View all 6 citations / Add more citations

References found in this work

Recreative Minds: Imagination in Philosophy and Psychology.Gregory Currie & Ian Ravenscroft - 2002 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press. Edited by Christoph Hoerl.
The Nature of Fiction.Gregory Currie - 1990 - Cambridge University Press.
The transparency of experience.Michael G. F. Martin - 2002 - Mind and Language 17 (4):376-425.
Imagination.Shen-yi Liao & Tamar Gendler - 2019 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

View all 42 references / Add more references