SATS 9 (2):116-132 (2008)

Jukka Mikkonen
Tampere University
In this paper, I shall sketch a preliminary ground for a cognitivist theory of fiction and argue that theories which align fiction-making with (aesthetically valuable) story-telling consider the act of fiction-making too narrowly. As a paradigmatic example of such anti-cognitivist theories, I shall examine Peter Lamarque and Stein Haugom Olsen’s influential theory of fiction, which suggests that recognizing the author’s fictive and literary intentions manifested in the text would lead to dismissing her aims to make genuine claims and suggestions. I shall illustrate my argument concerning the act of fiction-making by showing that there are sub-genres of fiction, for instance, so-called philosophical fiction, in which the author’s intention to advance genuine points and to invite the reader to entertain the beliefs expressed can reasonably be argued to be as important for understanding the work as is her aim to create an aesthetically valuable and/or entertaining fictional narrative. Leaning on Noël Carroll’s theory of literary thought experiments, I shall suggest that philosophical fictions convey assertions or suggestions in a way similar to philosophers’ fictional thought experiments and are aimed to be understood as such
Keywords fiction  fiction-making  philosophy  literature  thought-experiments  interpretation
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DOI 10.1515/SATS.2008.116
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