This challenging study places fiction squarely at the centre of the discussion of metaphysics. Philosophers have traditionally treated fiction as involving a set of narrow problems in logic or the philosophy of language. By contrast Amie Thomasson argues that fiction has far-reaching implications for central problems of metaphysics. The book develops an 'artifactual' theory of fiction, whereby fictional characters are abstract artifacts as ordinary as laws or symphonies or works of literature. By understanding fictional characters we (...) come to understand how other cultural and social objects are established on the basis of the independent physical world and the mental states of human beings. (shrink)
Despite widespread evidence that fictional models play an explanatory role in science, resistance remains to the idea that fictions can explain. A central source of this resistance is a particular view about what explanations are, namely, the ontic conception of explanation. According to the ontic conception, explanations just are the concrete entities in the world. I argue this conception is ultimately incoherent and that even a weaker version of the ontic conception fails. Fictional models can succeed in offering genuine explanations (...) by correctly capturing relevant patterns of counterfactual dependence and licensing correct inferences. Using the example of Newtonian force explanations of the tides, I show how, even in science, fiction can be a vehicle for truth. (shrink)
If there are no fictional characters, how do we explain thought and discourse apparently about them? If there are, what are they like? A growing number of philosophers claim that fictional characters are abstract objects akin to novels or plots. They argue that postulating characters provides the most straightforward explanation of our literary practices as well as a uniform account of discourse and thought about fiction. Anti-realists counter that postulation is neither necessary nor straightforward, and that the invocation of (...) pretense provides a better account of the same phenomena. I outline and assess these competing theories. (shrink)
Fictional names pose a difficult puzzle for semantics. We can truthfully maintain that Frodo is a hobbit, while at the same time admitting that Frodo does not exist. To reconcile this paradox I propose a way to formalize the interpretation of fiction as ‘prescriptions to imagine’ (Walton 1990) within an asymmetric semantic framework in the style of Kamp (1990). In my proposal, fictional statements are analyzed as dynamic updates on an imagination component of the interpreter’s mental state, while plain (...) assertions are updates on a belief component. Proper names – regular, empty, or fictional – are uniformly analyzed as presupposition triggers. The possibility of different attitude components referentially depending on each other is what ultimately allows us to account for the central paradox mentioned above. (shrink)
Impossible fictions are valuable evidence both for a theory of fiction and for theories of meaning, mind and epistemology. This article focuses on what we can learn about fiction from reflecting on impossible fictions. First, different kinds of impossible fiction are considered, and the question of how much fiction is impossible is addressed. What impossible fiction contributes to our understanding of "truth in fiction" and the logic of fiction will be examined. Finally, our (...) understanding of unreliable narrators and unreliable narration in fiction needs to accommodate stories that, on the face of it, cannot possibly be true. (shrink)
Do fictions depend upon imagination? Derek Matravers argues against the mainstream view that they do, and offers an original account of what it is to read, listen to, or watch a narrative. He downgrades the divide between fiction and non-fiction, largely dispenses with the imagination, and in doing so illuminates a succession of related issues.
This book examines the complex and varied ways in which fictions relate to the real world, and offers a precise account of how imaginative works of literature can use fictional content to explore matters of universal human interest. While rejecting the traditional view that literature is important for the truths that it imparts, the authors also reject attempts to cut literature off altogether from real human concerns. Their detailed account of fictionality, mimesis, and cognitive value, founded on the methods of (...) analytical philosophy, restores to literature its distinctive status among cultural practices. The authors also explore metaphysical and skeptical views, prevalent in modern thought, according to which the world itself is a kind of fiction, and truth no more than a social construct. They identify different conceptions of fiction in science, logic, epistemology, and make-believe, and thereby challenge the idea that discourse per se is fictional and that different modes of discourse are at root indistinguishable. They offer rigorous analyses of the roles of narrative, imagination, metaphor, and "making" in human thought processes. Both in their methods and in their conclusions, Lamarque and Olsen aim to restore rigor and clarity to debates about the values of literature, and to provide new, philosophically sound foundations for a genuine change of direction in literary theorizing. (shrink)
My goal is to reflect on the phenomenon of inadvertent creation and argue that—various objections to the contrary—it doesn’t undermine the view that fictional characters are abstract artifacts. My starting point is a recent challenge by Jeffrey Goodman that is originally posed for those who hold that fictional characters and mythical objects alike are abstract artifacts. The challenge: if we think that astronomers like Le Verrier, in mistakenly hypothesizing the planet Vulcan, inadvertently created an abstract artifact, then the “inadvertent creation” (...) element turns out to be inescapable yet theoretically unattractive. Based on considerations about actually existing concrete objects featured in fictional works (as Napoleon is in Tolstoy’s War and Peace), I argue that independently of one’s stand on mythical objects, admitting fictional characters as abstract artifacts is enough to give rise to the challenge at hand; yet this very point serves to undermine the challenge, indicating that inadvertent creation is not nearly as worrisome as Goodman suggests. Indeed, the inadvertent creation phenomenon’s generality extends far beyond objects of fiction and myth, and I will use this observation to counter a further objection. Taking fictional characters (and mythical objects) to be abstract artifacts therefore remains a viable option. (shrink)
Are fictional characters such as Sherlock Holmes real? What can fiction tell us about the nature of truth and reality? In this excellent introduction to the problem of fictionalism R. M. Sainsbury covers the following key topics: what is fiction? realism about fictional objects, including the arguments that fictional objects are real but non-existent; real but non-factual; real but non-concrete the relationship between fictional characters and non-actual worlds fictional entities as abstract artefacts fiction and intentionality and the (...) problem of irrealism fictionalism about possible worlds moral fictionalism. R. M. Sainsbury makes extensive use of examples from fiction, such as Sherlock Holmes, Anna Karenina and Madame Bovary and examines the work of philosophers who have made significant contributions to the topic, including Meinong, David Lewis, and Bas Van Fraassen. Additional features include chapter summaries, annotated further reading and a glossary of technical terms, making _Fiction and Fictionalism_ ideal for those coming to the issue for the first time. (shrink)
A fictional text is commonly viewed as constituting an invitation to play a certain game of make-believe, with the individual sentences written by the author providing the propositions we are to imagine and/or accept as true within the fiction. However, we can’t always take the text at face value. What narratologists call ‘unreliable narrators’ may present a confused or misleading picture of the fictional world. Meanwhile there has been a debate in philosophy about so-called ‘imaginative resistance’ in which we (...) are inclined to resist imagining (or even accepting as true in the fiction) what’s explicitly stated in the text. But if we can’t take the text’s word for it, how do we determine what’s true in a fiction? We propose an account of fiction interpretation in a dynamic setting (a version of DRT with a mechanism for opening, updating, and closing temporary ‘workspaces’) and combine this framework with belief revision logic. With these tools in hand we turn to modelling imaginative resistance and unreliable narrators. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that sentences that contain ‘omission’ tokens that appear to function as singular terms are meaningful while maintaining the view that omissions are nothing at all or mere absences. I take omissions to be fictional entities and claim that the way in which sentences about fictional characters are true parallels the way in which sentences about omissions are true. I develop a pragmatic account of fictional reference and argue that my fictionalist account of omissions implies a (...) plausible account of the metaphysics of omissions. (shrink)
This paper defends a version of the realist view that fictional characters exist. It argues for an instance of abstract realist views, according to which fictional characters are roles, constituted by sets of properties. It is argued that fictional names denote individual concepts, functions from worlds to individuals. It is shown that a dynamic framework for understanding the evolution of discourse information can be used to understand how roles are created and develop along with story content. Taking fictional names to (...) denote individual concepts provides accounts of a number of uses of fictional names. These include non-fictional uses, fictional uses, metafictional uses, interfictional uses, counterfictional uses, and negative existentials. It is argued that this account is not open to objections that have been raised in the literature. (shrink)
We offer an original argument for the existence of universal fictions—that is, fictions within which every possible proposition is true. Specifically, we detail a trio of such fictions, along with an easy-to-follow recipe for generating more. After exploring several consequences and dismissing some objections, we conclude that fiction, unlike reality, is unlimited when it comes to truth.
In recent work, Walton has abandoned his very influential account of the fictionality of p in a fictional work in terms of prescriptions to imagine emanating from it. He offers examples allegedly showing that a prescription to imagine p in a given work of fiction is not sufficient for the fictionality of p in that work. In this paper, both in support and further elaboration of a constitutive-norms speech-act variation on Walton’s account that I have defended previously, I critically (...) discuss his objections. In addition to answering his concerns and developing the account further, I provide additional abductive support for its explanatory virtues vis-à- institutional accounts like Walton’s, and Gricean speech-act proposals. (shrink)
We present a theory of truth in fiction that improves on Lewis's  ‘Analysis 2’ in two ways. First, we expand Lewis's possible worlds apparatus by adding non-normal or impossible worlds. Second, we model truth in fiction as belief revision via ideas from dynamic epistemic logic. We explain the major objections raised against Lewis's original view and show that our theory overcomes them.
Authors have a lot of leeway with regard to what they can make true in their story. In general, if the author says that p is true in the fiction we’re reading, we believe that p is true in that fiction. And if we’re playing along with the fictional game, we imagine that, along with everything else in the story, p is true. But there are exceptions to these general principles. Many authors, most notably Kendall Walton and Tamar (...) Szabó Gendler, have discussed apparent counterexamples when p is “morally deviant”. Many other statements that are conceptually impossible also seem to be counterexamples. In this paper I do four things. I survey the range of counterexamples, or at least putative counterexamples, to the principles. Then I look to explanations of the counterexamples. I argue, following Gendler, that the explanation cannot simply be that morally deviant claims are impossible. I argue that the distinctive attitudes we have towards moral propositions cannot explain the counterexamples, since some of the examples don’t involve moral concepts. And I put forward a proposed explanation that turns on the role of ‘higher-level concepts’, concepts that if they are satisfied are satisfied in virtue of more fundamental facts about the world, in fiction, and in imagination. (shrink)
Standard theories define fiction in terms of an invited response of imagining or make-believe. I argue that these theories are not only subject to numerous counterexamples, they also fail to explain why classification matters to our understanding and evaluation of works of fiction as well as non-fiction. I propose instead that we construe fiction and non-fiction as genres: categories whose membership is determined by a cluster of nonessential criteria, and which play a role in the (...) appreciation of particular works. I claim that this proposal captures the intuitions motivating alternative theories of fiction. (shrink)
It is advisable to treat some sorts of discourse about fiction with the aid of an intensional operator "in such-And-Such fiction...." the operator may appear either explicitly or tacitly. It may be analyzed in terms of similarity of worlds, As follows: "in the fiction f, A" means that a is true in those of the worlds where f is told as known fact rather than fiction that differ least from our world, Or from the belief worlds (...) of the community in which the fiction originated. (shrink)
Fictions evoke imagery, and their value consists partly in that achievement. This paper offers analysis of this neglected topic. Section 2 identifies relevant philosophical background. Section 3 offers a working definition of imagery. Section 4 identifies empirical work on visual imagery. Sections 5 and 6 criticize imagery essentialism, through the lens of genuine fictional narratives. This outcome, though, is not wholly critical. The expressed spirit of imagery essentialism is to encourage philosophers to ‘put the image back into the imagination’. The (...) weakened conclusion is that while an image is not essential to imagining, it should be returned to our theories of imagination. (shrink)
I present and discuss a counterexample to Kendall Walton's necessary condition for fictionality that arises from considering serial fictions. I argue that although Walton has not in fact provided a necessary condition for fictionality, a more complex version of Walton's condition is immune from the counterexample.
We refine a line of feminist criticism of pornography that focuses on pornographic works' pernicious effects. A.W. Eaton argues that inegalitarian pornography should be criticized because it is responsible for its consumers’ adoption of inegalitarian attitudes toward sex in the same way that other fictions are responsible for changes in their consumers’ attitudes. We argue that her argument can be improved with the recognition that different fictions can have different modes of persuasion. This is true of film and television: a (...) satirical movie such as Dr. Strangelove does not morally educate in the same way as a realistic series such as The Wire. We argue that this is also true of pornography: inegalitarian depictions of sex are not invariably responsible for consumers' adoption of inegalitarian attitudes toward sex in reality. Given that pornographic works of different genres may harm in different ways, different feminist criticisms are appropriate for different genres of pornography. (shrink)
Conventional medical ethics and the law draw a bright line distinguishing the permitted practice of withdrawing life-sustaining treatment from the forbidden practice of active euthanasia by means of a lethal injection. When clinicians justifiably withdraw life-sustaining treatment, they allow patients to die but do not cause, intend, or have moral responsibility for, the patient's death. In contrast, physicians unjustifiably kill patients whenever they intentionally administer a lethal dose of medication. We argue that the differential moral assessment of these two practices (...) is based on a series of moral fictions – motivated false beliefs that erroneously characterize withdrawing life-sustaining treatment in order to bring accepted end-of-life practices in line with the prevailing moral norm that doctors must never kill patients. When these moral fictions are exposed, it becomes apparent that conventional medical ethics relating to end-of-life decisions is radically mistaken. (shrink)
This important book provides a theory about the nature of fiction, and about the relation between the author, the reader and the fictional text. The approach is philosophical: that is to say, the author offers an account of key concepts such as fictional truth, fictional characters, and fiction itself. The book argues that the concept of fiction can be explained partly in terms of communicative intentions, partly in terms of a condition which excludes relations of counterfactual dependence (...) between the world and the text. This communicative model is then applied to the following problems: how can something be 'true in the story' without being explicitly stated in the text? In what ways does interpreting a fictional story depend upon grasping its author's intentions? Is there always a unique best interpretation of a fictional text? What is the correct semantics for fictional names? What is the nature of our emotional response to a fictional work? In answering these questions the author explores the complex interaction between author, reader, and text. This interaction requires the reader to construct a 'fictional author' - a character in the story whose personality, beliefs and emotional states must be interpreted if the reader is to grasp the meaning of the work. (shrink)
Science is popularly understood as being an ideal of impartial algorithmic objectivity that provides us with a realistic description of the world down to the last detail. The essays collected in this book—written by some of the leading experts in the field—challenge this popular image right at its heart, taking as their starting point that science trades not only in truth, but in fiction, too. With case studies that range from physics to economics and to biology, _Fictions in Science_ (...) reveals that fictions are as ubiquitous in scientific narratives and practice as they are in any other human endeavor, including literature and art. Of course scientific activity, most prominently in the formal sciences, employs logically precise algorithmic thinking. However, the key to the predictive and technological success of the empirical sciences might well lie elsewhere—perhaps even in scientists’ extraordinary creative imagination instead. As these essays demonstrate, within the bounds of what is empirically possible, a scientist’s capacity for invention and creative thinking matches that of any writer or artist. (shrink)
The problem of intersubjective identification arises from the difficulties of explaining how our thoughts and discourse about fictional characters can be directed towards the same (or different) characters given the assumption that there are no fictional entities. In this paper I aim to offer a solution in terms of participation in a practice of thinking and talking about the same thing, which is inspired by Sainsbury's name-using practices. I will critically discuss a similar idea that was put forward by Friend (...) in terms of participation in what Perry calls a notion-network. I will then argue in favor of Sainsbury's baptism-based approach against Perry's information-based approach and I will answer some recent objections that Friend put forward against the former. (shrink)
In this entry I present one of the most hotly debated issues in contemporary analytic philosophy regarding the nature of fictional entities and the motivations that might be adduced for and against positing them into our ontology. The entry is divided in two parts. In the first part I offer an overview of the main accounts of the metaphysics of fictional entities according to three standard realist views, fictional Meinongianism, fictional possibilism and fictional creationism. In the second part I describe (...) two main kinds of arguments for or against positing fictional entities into our ontology. The first kind is traditionally inspired by the linguistic data coming from our talk about fictional characters. The second kind is more recent and it builds on genuine ontological considerations. (shrink)
In this paper I confront what I take to be the crucial challenge for fictional realism, i.e. the view that fictional characters exist. This is the problem of accounting for the intuition that corresponding negative existentials such as ‘Sherlock Holmes does not exist’ are true (when, given fictional realism, taken literally they seem false). I advance a novel and detailed form of the response according to which we take them to mean variants of such claims as: there is no concrete (...) x such that x is Sherlock Holmes. (shrink)
Literary fiction is of crucial importance in human life. It is a source of understanding and insight into the nature of the human condition, yet ever since Plato, philosophers have struggled to provide a plausible explanation of how this can be the case. For surely the fictionality - the sheer invented character - of the literary text means that fiction presents not our world, but other worlds? In Fiction and the Weave of Life, John Gibson offers a (...) novel and intriguing account of the relationship between literature and everyday life, and shows how literature can give us an understanding of our world without literally being about our world. (shrink)
It is usually taken for granted, in discussions about fiction, that real things or events can occur as referents of fictional names . In this paper, I take issue with this view, and provide several arguments to the effect that it is better to take the names in fiction to refer to fictional surrogates of real objects. Doing so allows us to solve a series of problems that arise on the reference-continuity view. I also show that the arguments (...) philosophers usually rely on in order to ban surrogates are not as serious as they have been taken to be. In the first part of the paper, I describe the two conflicting views. In the second part, I discuss several specific arguments in favor of surrogates. In the third part I take up the kind of reasons ordinarily offered against them. (shrink)
Fictional realists hold that fictional characters are real entities. However, Anthony Everett [“Against Fictional Realism”, Journal of Philosophy (2005)] notes that some fictions leave it indeterminate whether character A is identical to character B, while other fictions depict A as simultaneously identical and distinct from B. Everett argues that these fictions commit the realist to indeterminate and impossible identity relations among actual entities, and that as such realism is untenable. This paper defends fictional realism: for fictions depicting non-classical identity between (...) A and B, the realist should hold that there are two salient fragments, one with a single character (named both ‘A’ and ‘B’) and the other with two (named ‘A’ and ‘B’, respectively). Truth according to the fiction depicting indeterminate identity is determined by supervaluating over truth according to those salient fragments. For fictions depicting impossible identity, truth is determined by subvaluating over truth according to those two salient fragments. (shrink)
The aim of this article is to explore in a systematic way the rationality of emotions elicited when we engage with works of fiction. I first lay out the approach to the emotions on which my discussion is premised. Next, I concentrate on two facets of emotional rationality—the first pertains to the relation between emotions and the mental states on which they are based, the second to the relation between emotions and the judgements and behaviour they elicit. These observations (...) about emotional rationality are then applied to emotions elicited by works of fiction. After having distinguished several families of emotions, I concentrate on what I call blob-emotions and emotions-for. I argue that, given their nature as direct responses to a restricted range of stimuli, blob-emotions are not irrational. As regards emotions-for fictional entities, I emphasize that a subject’s rationality shows in the way her emotions-for respond to evidence. On this basis, I discard an influential reason to think that emotions-for fictional entities are irrational. Finally, I offer an argument to conclude that they are typically correct and rational. (shrink)
Fictional realists maintain that fictional characters are part of the world’s ontology. In an influential article, Anthony Everett argues that the fictional realist is thereby committing herself to problematic entities. Among these are entities that are indeterminately identical. Recently, Ross Cameron and Richard Woodward have answered Everett’s worry using the same strategy. They argue that the fictional realist can bypass the problematic identities by contending that they are merely semantically indeterminate. This paper concisely surveys Everett’s original argument, Cameron’s and Woodward’s (...) responses, and then argues that the strategy employed by Cameron and Woodward fails to satisfactorily answer Everett’s worries. (shrink)
In this paper we explore the constraints that our preferred account of scientific representation places on the ontology of scientific models. Pace the Direct Representation view associated with Arnon Levy and Adam Toon we argue that scientific models should be thought of as imagined systems, and clarify the relationship between imagination and representation.
Some philosophers of science – the present author included – appeal to fiction as an interpretation of the practice of modeling. This raises the specter of an incompatibility with realism, since fiction-making is essentially non-truth-regulated. I argue that the prima facie conflict can be resolved in two ways, each involving a distinct notion of fiction and a corresponding formulation of realism. The main goal of the paper is to describe these two packages. Toward the end I comment (...) on how to choose among them. (shrink)
Understanding scientific modelling can be divided into two sub-projects: analysing what model-systems are, and understanding how they are used to represent something beyond themselves. The first is a prerequisite for the second: we can only start analysing how representation works once we understand the intrinsic character of the vehicle that does the representing. Coming to terms with this issue is the project of the first half of this chapter. My central contention is that models are akin to places and characters (...) of literary fictions, and that therefore theories of fiction play an essential role in explaining the nature of model-systems. This sets the agenda. Section 2 provides a statement of this view, which I label the fiction view of model-systems, and argues for its prima facie plausibility. Section 3 presents a defence of this view against its main rival, the structuralist conception of models. In Section 4 I develop an account of model-systems as imagined objects on the basis of the so-called pretence theory of fiction. This theory needs to be discussed in great detail for two reasons. First, developing an acceptable account of imagined objects is mandatory to make the fiction view acceptable, and I will show that the pretence theory has the resources to achieve this goal. Second, the term ‘representation’ is ambiguous; in fact, there are two very different relations that are commonly called ‘representation’ and a conflation between the two is the root of some of the problems that beset scientific representation. Pretence theory provides us with the conceptual resources to articulate these two different forms of representation, which I call p-representation and t-representation respectively. Putting these elements together provides us with a coherent overall picture of scientific modelling, which I develop in Section 5. (shrink)
Lamarque and Olsen argue for a “no truth” theory of fiction and literature, holding that there is no essential connection between the concepts of truth and those of fiction or of literature. Instead, they argue for a broadly Gricean account of both. The core of their characterization of the fictionality of a text is that it be the product of an intention that its reader adopt the fictive stance towards it, and the producer of the text intends there (...) to be a mutual belief that the reader adopt this stance partly because of her recognition of the producer’s intention. To adopt the fictive stance is, at its most basic level, to entertain the sense of the text and to make-believe its truth and reference. Because appeal is made not to belief, but make-belief, there is no essential connection between fictionality and truth. Fictional content is aspectival, fictional objects being constituted by the properties expressed by the descriptions associated with the names of the objects. The account of literature is structurally similar to that for fiction. A text is literary when it is produced with the intention that its audience adopt the literary stance towards it, and a similar mutual belief condition holds. To adopt the literary stance to a text is to read it for literary aesthetic value, that is, with an expectation of finding humanly interesting content presented in a complex and coherent form. There is no requirement that the content be true, and hence there is no essential connection between literature or literary value and truth. Within this broad framework, Lamarque and Olsen develop a number of further points of interest, including a broadly Gricean account of metaphor that avoids the pitfalls into which Searle’s proposal stumbles, a distinction between different senses of “fiction” that usefully shows that logical fictions are distinct from make-believe fictions, and a sustained attack on structuralist and poststructuralist literary theories that one hopes will fall into the hands of aficionados of those theories. (shrink)
I argue that the ontological status of fictional characters is determined by the beliefs and practices of those who competently deal with works of literature, and draw out three important consequences of this. First, heavily revisionary theories cannot be considered as ‘discoveries’ about the ‘true nature’ of fictional characters; any acceptable realist theory of fiction must preserve all or most of the common conception of fictional characters. Second, once we note that the existence conditions for fictional characters are extremely (...) minimal, it makes little sense to deny the existence of fictional characters, leaving anti-realist views of fiction unmotivated. Finally, the role of ordinary beliefs and practices in determining facts about the ontology of fictional characters explains why non-revisionary theories of fiction are bound to yield no determinate or precise answer to certain questions about fictional characters, demonstrating the limits of a theory of fiction. (shrink)
Conceiving of fictional characters as types allows us to reconcile intuitions of sameness and difference about characters such as Batman that appear in different fictional worlds. Sameness occurs at the type level while difference occurs at the token level. Yet, the claim that fictional characters are types raises three main issues. Firstly, types seem to be eternal forms whereas fictional characters seem to be the outcome of a process of creation. Secondly, the tokens of a type are concrete particulars in (...) the actual world whereas the alleged tokens of a fictional character are concrete particulars in a fictional world. Thirdly, many fictional characters, unlike Batman, only appear in one work of fiction, and therefore one can wonder whether it does make sense to treat them as types. The main aim of this paper is to address these issues in order to defend a creationist account of fictional characters as types. (shrink)
In this paper I outline an alternative to hermeneutic fictionalism, an alternative I call indifferentism, with the same advantages as hermeneutic fictionalism with respect to ontological issues but avoiding some of the problems that face fictionalism. The difference between indifferentism and fictionalism is this. The fictionalist about ordinary utterances of a sentence S holds, with more orthodox views, that the speaker in some sense commits herself to the truth of S. It is only that for the fictionalist this is truth (...) in the relevant fiction. According to the indifferentist, by contrast, we are simply non-committal – or indifferent – with respect to some aspects of what is literally said in our assertive utterances. (shrink)
In this article I assess Alisa Bokulich’s idea that explanatory model fictions can be genuinely explanatory. I draw attention to a tension in her account between the claim that model fictions are explanatorily autonomous, and the demand that model fictions be justified in order for them to be genuinely explanatory. I also explore the consequences that arise from Bokulich’s use of Woodward’s account of counterfactual explanation and her abandonment of Woodward’s notion of an intervention. As it stands, Bokulich’s account must (...) be deemed unworkable. (shrink)
In Mimesis as Make-Believe, Kendall Walton gave a pioneering account of the nature of fictionality, which holds that what it is for p to be fictional is for there to exist a prescription to imagine that p. But Walton has recently distanced himself from his original analysis and now holds that prescriptions to imagine are merely necessary conditions on fictionality. Many of the alleged counterexamples that have prompted Walton's retreat are drawn from the field of photography, and it is upon (...) these cases that I focus. I argue that once Walton's analysis is properly articulated, we can accommodate the apparent counterexamples by paying careful attention both to the general features of the photographic medium and the specific features of the photographs in question. (shrink)
Many philosophers suggest (1) that our emotional engagement with fiction involves participation in a game of make-believe, and (2) that what distinguishes an emotional game from a dispassionate game is the fact that the former activity alone involves sensations of physiological and visceral disturbances caused by our participation in the game. In this paper I argue that philosophers who accept (1) should reject (2). I then illustrate how this conclusion illuminates various puzzles in aesthetics and the philosophy of mind.
The epistemic account and the noetic account hold that the essence of scientific progress is the increase in knowledge and understanding, respectively. Dellsén (2018) criticizes the epistemic account (Park, 2017a) and defends the noetic account (Dellsén, 2016). I argue that Dellsén’s criticisms against the epistemic account fail, and that his notion of understanding, which he claims requires neither belief nor justification, cannot explain scientific progress, although it can explain fictional progress in science-fiction.