In Art, Representation, and Make-Believe. New York and London: pp. 1-22 (2021)

Sonia Sedivy
University of Toronto at Scarborough
The Introduction provides an overview of Kendall Walton’s make-believe framework for a variety of representations and his arguments that such representations are dependent on their social or historical context. Walton argues that diverse representations involve our capacities for imagination and make-believe with props; they overlap with the fictional. Focusing on make-believe with props explains paradigmatic representational arts such as paintings and novels, theater and film. But this perspective reaches beyond the arts: it explains pictures and photographs in general not only artistic ones; stories in general as well as literary and performing arts; music; metaphors, and even the claims we make about fictional entities and existence. The first section explains the main points of the make-believe framework in Mimesis as Make-Believe, and it reconstructs Walton’s argument in “Categories of Art” that some aesthetic properties depend on the perceptible and historical categories of art to which a work belongs. The second section outlines Walton’s specific proposals about literary fiction, fictional characters, poetry, pictures, photographs, music and negative existential claims. These explanations are integrated with summaries of the papers. The third section examines Walton’s implicit view of two much-discussed issues: the ontology of art and definitions of art. This discussion clears away some misunderstandings of Walton’s contextualism or historicism and relates Walton’s work to Arthur Danto’s and Frank Sibley’s.
Keywords Kendall L. Walton  aesthetics  Make-believe  theories of the arts  representation  mimesis
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