The Puzzle of Multiple Endings

Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 73 (2):105-114 (2015)
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Abstract

Why is it that most fictions present one and only one ending, rather than multiple ones? Fictions presenting multiple endings are possible, because a few exist; but they are very rare, and this calls for an explanation. We argue that such an explanation is likely to shed light on our engagement with fictions, for fictions having one and only one ending seem to be ubiquitous. After dismissing the most obvious explanations for this phenomenon, we compare the scarcity of multiple endings in traditional kinds of fiction to their profusion in the case of interactive fictions. This contrast poses a challenge to accounts of our engagement with fictions in terms of games of make-believe. We conclude that solving this puzzle is likely to improve our philosophical understanding of fictions

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Author's Profile

Florian Cova
University of Geneva

Citations of this work

Video Games as Self‐Involving Interactive Fictions.Jon Robson & Aaron Meskin - 2012 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 74 (2):165-177.
Video Games as Self-Involving Interactive Fictions.Jon Robson & Aaron Meskin - 2016 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 74 (2):165-177.
Walton, Truth in Fiction, and Video Games: A Rejoinder to Willis.Martin Ricksand - 2020 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 78 (1):101-105.
Glitches as fictional (mis)communication.Nele Van de Mosselear & Nathan Wildman - 2021 - In Timothy Barker & Maria Korolkova (eds.), Miscommunication: Error, mistakes, media. Bloomsbury. pp. 300-315.

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References found in this work

Art and negative affect.Aaron Smuts - 2009 - Philosophy Compass 4 (1):39-55.
The paradox of suspense.Robert J. Yanal - 1996 - British Journal of Aesthetics 36 (2):146-158.
The Paradox Of Suspense.Robert Yanal - 1996 - British Journal of Aesthetics 36 (2):146-158.

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