Lost in Intensity: Is there an empirical solution to the quasi-emotions debate?

Aesthetic Investigations 4 (1):460-482 (2020)
  Copy   BIBTEX


Contrary to the emotions we feel in everyday contexts, the emotions we feel for fictional characters do not seem to require a belief in the existence of their object. This observation has given birth to a famous philosophical paradox (the ‘paradox of fiction’), and has led some philosophers to claim that the emotions we feel for fictional characters are not genuine emotions but rather “quasi-emotions”. Since then, the existence of quasi-emotions has been a hotly debated issue. Recently, philosophers and psychologists have proposed to solve this debate by using empirical methods and experimentally studying differences between ‘real’ and ‘fictional’ emotions. In this paper, our goal is to assess the success of these attempts. We begin by surveying the existing empirical literature and stressing the methodological problems that plague most studies that might seem relevant to the debate, before focusing on recent studies that avoid this pitfall. We then argue that, due to conceptual problems, these studies fail to be relevant to the philosophical debate and emphasize new directions for future empirical research on the topic.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 86,377

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Walton's quasi-emotions do not go away.Miguel F. Dos Santos - 2017 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 75 (3):265-274.
A Metatheoretical Solution of the Paradox of Fiction.Lisa Katharin Schmalzried - 2018 - Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy 1:307-314.
Emotion, Reason and Truth in Literature.Vendrell Ferran Íngrid - 2009 - Universitas Philosophica 26 (52):19-52.
Is the Paradox of Fiction Soluble in Psychology?Florian Cova & Fabrice Teroni - 2016 - Philosophical Psychology 29 (6):930-942.
Emotion, Fiction and Rationality.Fabrice Teroni - 2019 - British Journal of Aesthetics 59 (2):113-128.
Thoughts on the 'paradox' of fiction.Kathleen Stock - 2006 - Postgraduate Journal of Aesthetics 3 (2):59-65.
Do we weep for Cordelia?Elisa Galgut - 2003 - South African Journal of Philosophy 22 (3):267-275.
The fiction of paradox: really feeling for Anna Karenina.Daniéle Moyal-Sharrock - 2009 - In Ylva Gustafsson, Camilla Kronqvist & Michael McEachrane (eds.), Emotions and Understanding: Wittgensteinian Perspectives. Palgrave-Macmillan.
Aptness of Fiction-Directed Emotions.Moonyoung Song - 2020 - British Journal of Aesthetics 60 (1):45-59.
The emotions: a philosophical introduction.Julien A. Deonna & Fabrice Teroni - 2012 - New York: Routledge. Edited by Fabrice Teroni.


Added to PP

52 (#259,293)

6 months
11 (#107,677)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author Profiles

Steve Humbert-Droz
University of Geneva
Fabrice Teroni
University of Geneva
Julien Deonna
University of Geneva
1 more

Citations of this work

Emotion in Fiction: State of the Art.Stacie Friend - 2022 - British Journal of Aesthetics 62 (2):257-271.
Experimental philosophy of aesthetics.Florian Cova - forthcoming - In Max Bauer & Stephan Kornmesser (eds.), Compact compendium of experimental philosophy. De Gruyter.

Add more citations

References found in this work

The Emotions.Nico H. Frijda - 1986 - Cambridge University Press.
The emotions: a philosophical introduction.Julien A. Deonna & Fabrice Teroni - 2012 - New York: Routledge. Edited by Fabrice Teroni.
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.

View all 15 references / Add more references