A popular view has it that the mental representations underlying human pretense are not beliefs, but are “belief-like” in important ways. This view typically posits a distinctive cognitive attitude (a “DCA”) called “imagination” that is taken toward the propositions entertained during pretense, along with correspondingly distinct elements of cognitive architecture. This paper argues that the characteristics of pretense motivating such views of imagination can be explained without positing a DCA, or other cognitive architectural features beyond those regulating (...) normal belief and desire. On the present “Single Attitude” account of imagination, propositional imagining just is a form of believing. The Single Attitude account is also distinguished from “metarepresentational” accounts of pretense, which hold that both pretending and recognizing pretense in others require one to have concepts of mental states. It is argued, to the contrary, that pretending and recognizing pretense require neither a DCA nor possession of mental state concepts. (shrink)
Issues of pretense and imagination are of central interest to philosophers, psychologists, and researchers in allied fields. In this entry, we provide a roadmap of some of the central themes around which discussion has been focused. We begin with an overview of pretense, imagination, and the relationship between them. We then shift our attention to the four specific topics where the disciplines' research programs have intersected or where additional interactions could prove mutually beneficial: the psychological underpinnings of performing (...)pretense and of recognizing pretense, the cognitive capacities involved in imaginative engagement with fictions, and the real-world impact of make-believe. In the final section, we discuss more briefly a number of other mental activities that arguably involve imagining, including counterfactual reasoning, delusions, and dreaming. (shrink)
Truth-talk exhibits certain features that render it philosophically suspect and motivate a deflationary account. I offer a new formulation of deflationism that explains truth-talk in terms of semantic pretense. This amounts to a fictionalist account of truth-talk but avoids an error-theoretic interpretation and its resulting incoherence. The pretense analysis fits especially well with deflationism’s central commitment, and it handles truth-talk’s unusual features effectively. In particular, this approach suggests an interesting strategy for dealing with the Liar paradox. This version (...) of deflationism has advantages over the formulations currently available in the literature, mainly because it offers a more satisfying account of the generalizing role deflationary views take as truth-talk’s central function. Explaining the notion of truth in terms of pretense generates some special concerns, but none we cannot address through careful consideration of how pretense operates in truth-talk and of the attitudes instances of pretending involve. (shrink)
The ability to engage in and recognize pretend play begins around 18 months. A major challenge for theories of pretense is explaining how children are able to engage in pretense, and how they are able to recognize pretense in others. According to one major account, the metarepresentational theory, young children possess both production and recognition abilities because they possess the mental state concept, pretend. According to a more recent rival account, the Behavioral theory, young children are behaviorists (...) about pretense, and only produce and recognize pretense as a sort of behavior – namely, behaving ‘as-if’. We review both the metarepresentational and Behavioral accounts and argue that the Behavioral theory fails to characterize very young children’s abilities to produce and to recognize pretense. Among other problems, the Behavioral theory implies that children should frequently mis-recognize regular behavior as pretense, while certain regular forms of pretend play should neither be produced nor recognized. Like other mental states, pretense eludes purely behavioral description. The metarepresentational theory does not suffer these problems and provides a better account of children’s pretense. (shrink)
In this paper, we do two things. First, we clarify the notion of deflationism, with special attention to deflationary accounts of truth. Seocnd, we argue that one who endorses a deflationary account of truth (or of semantic notions, generally) should be, or perhaps already is, a pretense theorist regarding truth-talk. In §1 we discuss mathematical fictionalism, where we focus on Yablo’s pretense account of mathematical discourse. §2 briefly introduces the key elements of deflationism and explains deflationism about truth (...) in particular. §3 discusses why deflationary accounts of truth should be construed as pretense accounts and gives a preliminary sketch of a particular pretense account of truth-talk. §4 addresses a main objection to a pretense account, and §5 concludes. (shrink)
There seems to be a perfectly ordinary sense in which different speakers can use an empty name to talk about the same thing. Call this fictional coreference. It is a constraint on an adequate theory of empty names that it provide a satisfactory account of fictional coreference. The main claim of this paper is that the pretense theory of empty names does not respect this constraint.
Anna Pautz has recently argued that the pretense theory of thought about fiction cannot explain how two people can count as thinking about the same fictional character. This is based on conflating pretending and the serious thought that can be based on pretend. With this distinction in place, her objections are groundless.
Our linguistic and inferential practices are said to implicate a kind of abstract object playing various roles traditionally attributed to propositions, and our predictive and explanatory success with this ‘‘proposition-talk’’ is held to underwrite a realistic interpretation of it. However, these very same practices pull us in different directions regarding the nature of propositions, frustrating the development of an adequate unified theory of them. I explain how one could retain proposition-talk, and the advantages of interpreting it as being purportedly about (...) propositions, even if problems about the identity conditions for propositions motivated a Quinean rejection of them. The non-error-theoretic solution is to understand proposition-talk in terms of semantic pretense. On this approach, talking as if there were propositions lets us put readily available logical and linguistic devices to new expressive purposes, providing a way to make indirectly certain complicated, genuinely true assertions we cannot make directly. Proposition-talk thus extends the expressive capacity of a language in a logico-syntactically conservative way. (shrink)
I assess Tamar Gendler's (2007) account of self-deception according to which its characteristic state is not belief, but imaginative pretense. After giving an overview of the literature and presenting the conceptual puzzles engendered by the notion of self-deception, I introduce Gendler's account, which emerges as a rival to practically all extant accounts of self-deception. I object to it by first arguing that her argument for abandoning belief as the characteristic state of self-deception conflates the state of belief and the (...) process of belief-formation when interpreting David Velleman's (2000) thesis that belief is an essentially truth-directed attitude. I then call attention to the fact that Velleman's argument for the identity of motivational role between belief and imagining, on which Gendler's argument for self-deception as pretense depends, conflates two senses of 'motivational role'-a stronger but implausible sense and a weaker but explanatorily irrelevant sense. Finally, I introduce Neil Van Leeuwen's (2009) argument to the effect that belief is the practical ground of all non-belief cognitive attitudes in circumstances wherein the latter prompt action. I apply this framework to Gendler's account to ultimately show that imaginative pretense fails to explain the existence of voluntary actions which result from self-deception. (shrink)
In this paper we explain our pretense account of truth-talk and apply it in a diagnosis and treatment of the Liar Paradox. We begin by assuming that some form of deflationism is the correct approach to the topic of truth. We then briefly motivate the idea that all T-deflationists should endorse a fictionalist view of truth-talk, and, after distinguishing pretense-involving fictionalism (PIF) from error- theoretic fictionalism (ETF), explain the merits of the former over the latter. After presenting the (...) basic framework of our PIF account of truth-talk, we demonstrate a few advantages it offers over T-deflationist accounts that do not explicitly acknowledge pretense at work in the discourse. In turning to the Liar Paradox, we explain how the quasi-anaphoric functioning that our account attributes to truth-talk provides a diagnosis of the Liar Paradox (and other instances of semantic pathology) as having no content—in the sense of not specifying any of what we call M-conditions. At the same time, however, we vindicate the intuition that we can understand liar sentences, thereby avoiding one standard objection to “meaningless strategy” responses to the Liar Paradox. With this diagnosis in place, we then, by way of treatment, introduce a new predicate, ‘semantically defective’, and show how the explanation we give for its application allows for a consistent, yet revenge-immune, (dis)solution of the Liar Paradox, and semantic pathology generally. (shrink)
Thought about fictional characters is special, and needs to be distinguished from ordinary world-directed thought. On my interpretation, Kendall Walton and Gareth Evans have tried to show how this serious fiction-directed thought can arise from engagement with a kind of pretending. Many criticisms of their account have focused on the methodological presupposition, that fiction-directed thought is the appropriate explanandum. In the first part of this paper, I defend the methodological claim, and thus the existence of the problem to which (...) class='Hi'>pretense is supposed to be a solution. In the second part, I elaborate and defend the pretense theory as a solution to this problem. (shrink)
Our claim in this paper is that a theory of “pretense” (in all its crucial uses in human society and cognition) can be built only if it is grounded on the general theory of “behavioral implicit communication” (BIC), which is not to be confused with non-verbal communication (with distinct notions being frequently conflated, such as “signs” vs. “messages”, or goal as “intention” vs. goal as “function”). Pretense presupposes some BIC-based human interaction, where a normal, practical behavior is used (...) for signifying something, based on a sign that is not a conventional one. In light of BIC interaction theory, one can exploit this sign or message in a deceptive way in order to induce the other to believe that he/she is performing a given behavior or has a given mental state. -/- . (shrink)
Rationalization in the sense of biased self-justification is very familiar. It's not cheating because everyone else is doing it too. I didn't report the abuse because it wasn't my place. I understated my income this year because I paid too much in tax last year. I'm only a social smoker, so I won't get cancer. The mental mechanisms subserving rationalization have been studied closely by psychologists. However, when viewed against the backdrop of philosophical accounts of the regulative role of truth (...) in doxastic deliberation , rationalization can look very puzzling. Almost all contemporary philosophers endorse a version of the thesis of deliberative exclusivity—a thinker cannot in full consciousness decide whether to believe that p in a way that issues directly in forming a belief by adducing anything other than considerations that he or she regards as relevant to the truth of p. But, as I argue, rationalization involves the weighing of considerations that the thinker kn.. (shrink)
In this book, Bradley Armour-Garb and James A. Woodbridge distinguish various species of fictionalism, locating and defending their own version of philosophical fictionalism. Addressing semantic and philosophical puzzles that arise from ordinary language, they consider such issues as the problem of non-being, plural identity claims, mental-attitude ascriptions, meaning attributions, and truth-talk. They consider 'deflationism about truth', explaining why deflationists should be fictionalists, and show how their philosophical fictionalist account of truth-talk underwrites a dissolution of the Liar Paradox and its kin. (...) They further explore the semantic notions of reference and predicate-satisfaction, showing how philosophical fictionalism can also resolve puzzles that these notions appear to present. Their critical examination of fictionalist approaches in philosophy, together with the development and application of their own brand of philosophical fictionalism, will be of great interest to scholars and upper-level students of philosophy of language, metaphysics, philosophical logic, philosophy of mind, epistemology, and linguistics. (shrink)
Recent accounts of pretense have been underdescribed in a number of ways. In this paper, we present a much more explicit cognitive account of pretense. We begin by describing a number of real examples of pretense in children and adults. These examples bring out several features of pretense that any adequate theory of pretense must accommodate, and we use these features to develop our theory of pretense. On our theory, pretense representations are contained (...) in a separate mental workspace, a Possible World Box which is part of the basic architecture of the human mind. The representations in the Possible World Box can have the same content as beliefs. Indeed, we suggest that pretense representations are in the same representational ``code'' as beliefs and that the representations in the Possible World Box are processed by the same inference and UpDating mechanisms that operate over real beliefs. Our model also posits a Script Elaborator which is implicated in the embellishment that occurs in pretense. Finally, we claim that the behavior that is seen in pretend play is motivated not from a ``pretend desire'', but from a real desire to act in a way that ®ts the description being constructed in the Possible World Box. We maintain that this account can accommodate the central features of pretense exhibited in the examples of pretense, and we argue that the alternative accounts either can't accommodate or fail to address entirely some of the central features of pretense. q 2000 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved. (shrink)
I propose that paradigmatic cases of self-deception satisfy the following conditions: (a) the person who is self-deceived about not-P pretends (in the sense of makes-believe or imagines or fantasizes) that not-P is the case, often while believing that P is the case and not believing that not-P is the case; (b) the pretense that not-P largely plays the role normally played by belief in terms of (i) introspective vivacity and (ii) motivation of action in a wide range of circumstances. (...) Understanding self-deception in this way is highly natural. And it provides a non-paradoxical characterization of the phenomenon that explains both its distinctive patterns of instability and its ordinary association with irrationality. Why, then, has this diagnosis been overlooked? I suggest that the oversight is due to a failure to recognize the philosophical significance of a crucial fact about the human mind, namely, the degree to which attitudes other than belief often play a central role in our mental and practical lives, both by "influenc[ing our]... passions and imagination," and by "governing.. .our actions.". (shrink)
Imaginative and creative capacities seem to be at the heart of both games of make-believe and figurative uses of language. But how exactly might cases of metaphor or idiom involve make-believe? In this paper, I argue against the pretense-based accounts of Walton (1990, 1993), Hills (1997), and Egan (this journal, 2008) that pretense plays no role in the interpretation of metaphor or idiom; instead, more general capacities for manipulating concepts (which are also called on within the use of (...)pretense) do the real explanatory work. This result has consequences for both our understanding of metaphor and idiom as well as for the use of figurative language by fictionalists in ontology. (shrink)
In its approach to fiction and fictional discourse, pretense theory focuses on the behaviors that we engage in once we pretend that something is true. These may include pretending to name, pretending to refer, pretending to admire, and various other kinds of make-believe. Ordinary discourse about fictions is analyzed as a kind of institutionalized manner of speaking. Pretense, make-believe, and manners of speaking are all accepted as complex patterns of behavior that prove to be systematic in various ways. (...) In this paper, I attempt to show: (1) that this systematicity is captured in the basic distinctions and representations that are central to the formal theory of abstract objects, and (2) that this formal theory need not be interpreted platonistically, but may instead have an interpretation on which the `objects' of the theory are things that pretense theorists already accept, namely, complex patterns of linguistic behavior. The surprising conclusion, then, is that a certain Wittgensteinian approach to meaning (e.g., the meaning of a term like `Holmes' is constituted by its pattern of use) bears an interesting relationship to a formal metaphysical theory and the semantic analyses of discourse constructed in terms of that theory---the former offers a naturalized interpretation of the latter, yet the latter makes the former more precise. (shrink)
A pretense theory of a given discourse is a theory that claims that we do not believe or assert the propositions expressed by the sentences we token (speak, write, and so on) when taking part in that discourse. Instead, according to pretense theory, we are speaking from within a pretense. According to pretense theories of mathematics, we engage with mathematics as we do a pretense. We do not use mathematical language to make claims that express (...) propositions and, thus, we do not use mathematical discourse to make claims that are either true or false. In this paper I make use of recent findings from cognitive neuroscience and developmental science to suggest that pretense theories of mathematics fail. 1 Introduction 2 The Autism Objection 2.1 Autism and pretense 2.2 Autistic engagement with mathematics 2.2.1 Cortical folding 2.2.2 The language of mathematics 3 The Onset of the Number Sense and the Recognition of Pretense 3.1 A difference in neurology 3.2 Young and no numbers 3.2.1 When and where is the difference? 3.2.2 Damaged HIPS without impairment to engagement with fiction 4 Concluding Remarks. (shrink)
By the age of two, children are able to engage in highly elaborate games of symbolic pretense, in which objects and actions in the actual world are taken to stand for objects and actions in a realm of make-believe. These games of pretense are marked by the presence of two central features, which I will call quarantining and mirroring (see also Leslie 1987; Perner 1991). Quarantining is manifest to the extent that events within the pretense-episode are taken (...) to have effects only within that pretense-episode (e.g. the child does not expect that ‘spilling’ ( pretend) ‘tea’1 will result in the table really being wet), or more generally, to the extent that proto-beliefs and proto-attitudes concerning the pretended state of affairs are not treated as beliefs and attitudes relevant to guiding action in the actual world. Mirroring is manifest to the extent that features of the imaginary situation that have not been explicitly stipulated are derivable via features of their real-world analogues (e.g. the child does expect that if she up-ends the teapot above the table, then the table will become wet in the pretense), or, more generally to the extent that imaginative content is taken to be governed by the same sorts of restrictions that govern believed content. (shrink)
ABSTRACTThis article engages with a recent view that the Daoist Classic Zhuangzi advances an alternative to the Confucian role-ethics. According to this view, Zhuangzi opposes the Confucian idea that we should play our social roles with sincerity and instead argues that we should take the liberty to detach ourselves from the roles we play and ‘pretend’ them. It is argued in this article that Zhuangzi’s ideal of role-playing is based neither on sincerity nor on pretense. Instead, it is akin (...) to the excellence of theatre actors when they enact a role: they are able, for a limited time, to restructure their personality into a particular role, but de-structure it again when the performance is over. The prerequisite for this ability is to keep one’s self fundamentally unstructured, or, as Zhuangzi puts it, ‘empty’. This reading of Zhuangzian role-playing provides a fresh perspectives on ‘playing’ or ‘rambling’ as the central philosophical concept in the Zhuangzi. (shrink)
This paper begins with a puzzle about certain temporal expressions: phrases like ‘Jones as he was ten years ago’ and ‘the Jones of ten years ago’. There are reasons to take these as substantival, to be interpreted as terms for temporal parts. But it seems that the same reifying strategy would also force us to countenance a host of less attractive posits, among them fictional counterparts of real things and much more. I argue that there is a better way: we (...) need only the idea of pretense or make-believe to make sense of claims embedding such phrases, leaving us with no reason, so far, to accept an ontology of temporal parts. (shrink)
Kendall Walton’s pretense theory, like its rivals, says that what’s true in a fiction F depends in part on the importation of background propositions into F. The aim of this paper is to present, explain, and defend a brief yet straightforward argument–one which exploits the specific mechanism by which the pretense theory says propositions are imported into fictions–for the falsity of the pretense theory.
A survey of and a comparison of the relative strengths of two favored views of what theatrical performers do: pretend or engage in a variety of self-display. The behavioral version of the pretense theory is shown to be relatively weak as an instrument for understanding the variety of performance styles available in world theater. Whether pretense works as a theory of the mental capacities that underly theatrical performance is a separate question.
It is well known that, from the second year of life, children engage in imaginative activities and pretend play. Pretending is changing the nature of perceptual inputs at will. In this paper I shall take up the question of young children’s knowledge about the pretend-real distinctions. According to Josef Perner, they have an immature concept, called prelief, because they do not differentiate between believing and pretending. But, we know that belief and pretense have different inputs. Imagination is at the (...) whim of our intentions, belief not. And, on the side of outputs, when children pretend, they carry out behavioral sequences “as if” they really had beliefs, but belief and pretense have different causal roles in action tendencies. So, when a boy pretends, he acts out his pretense within the scope of a supposition, but, why doesn’t he go all the way? That is, how are we to explain the limits children place on their activity? I shall answer these questions arguing that pretense is tied to conceptual knowledge. This will enable me to give a metaphysical account of this phenomenon, because it is based on the intentional manipulation of the identity of things and their properties. (shrink)
A retrospect into ethos, this study examines the impact of individualism, collectivism, ethical idealism and interpersonal trust on negotiators' attitudes toward questionable negotiation tactics in Greece. A thousand survey questionnaires were administered to Greek employees, of which 327 usable responses were collected. Our findings empirically corroborated a classification of three groups of negotiation tactics, namely, pretense, deception and lies. Individualism–collectivism and ethical idealism were found to be related, and interpersonal trust was found to be unrelated, to attitudes toward questionable (...) negotiation tactics. Emphasizing the non-US and non-Western European nature of the empirical data collected, the originality of this research further stems from the development of a comprehensive research framework about questionable negotiation tactics in Greece. (shrink)
Corresponding to Glenberg's distinction between the automatic and effortful modes of memory, I propose a distinction between cued and detached mental representations. A cued representation stands for something that is present in the external situation of the representing organism, while a detached representation stands for objects or events that are not present in the current situation. This distinction is important for understanding the role of memory in different cognitive functions like planning and pretense.
Traditional theories of sarcasm treat it as a case of a speaker's meaning the opposite of what she says. Recently, 'expressivists' have argued that sarcasm is not a type of speaker meaning at all, but merely the expression of a dissociative attitude toward an evoked thought or perspective. I argue that we should analyze sarcasm in terms of meaning inversion, as the traditional theory does; but that we need to construe 'meaning' more broadly, to include illocutionary force and evaluative attitudes (...) as well as propositional content. I distinguish four subclasses of sarcasm, individuated in terms of the target of inversion. Three of these classes raise serious challenges for a standard implicature analysis. (shrink)
There has recently been considerable interest in accounts of fiction which treat fictional characters as abstract objects. In this paper I argue against this view. More precisely I argue that such accounts are unable to accommodate our intuitions that fictional negative existentials such as “Raskolnikov doesn’t exist” are true. I offer a general argument to this effect and then consider, but reject, some of the accounts of fictional negative existentials offered by abstract object theorists. I then note that some of (...) the sort of data invoked by the abstract object theorist in fact cuts against her position. I concludle that we should not regard fictional characters as abstract objects but rather should adopt a make-believe theoretic account of fictional characters along the lines of those developed by Ken Walton and others. (shrink)
Contrary to frequent declarations that descriptivism as a theory of how names refer is dead and gone, such a descriptivism is, to all appear- ances, alive and well. Or rather, a descendent of that doctrine is alive and well. This new version—neo- descriptivism , for short—is suppos- ..
In this paper I distinguish the category of “rationalization” from various forms of epistemic irrationality. I maintain that only if we model rationalizers as pretenders can we make sense of the rationalizer's distinctive relationship to the evidence in her possession. I contrast the cognitive attitude of the rationalizer with that of believers whose relationship to the evidence I describe as “waffling” or “intransigent”. In the final section of the paper, I compare the rationalizer to the Frankfurtian bullshitter.
In this reply I defend Kripke’s creationist thesis for mythical objects against Jeffrey Goodman’s counter-argument to the thesis, 35–40, 2014). I argue that Goodman has mistaken the basis for when mythical abstracta are created. Contrary to Goodman I show that, as well as how, Kripke’s theory consistently retains the analogy between creation of mythical objects and creation of fictional objects, while also explaining in what way they differ.
In this paper, we show how an internal tension in Wilfrid Sellars’s understanding of truth, as well as an external tension in his account of meaning attribution, can be resolved while adhering to a Sellarsian spirit, by appealing to the particular fictionalist accounts of truth-talk and proposition-talk that we have developed elsewhere.
Young children spend a large portion of their time pretending about non-real situations. Why? We answer this question by using the framework of Bayesian causal models to argue that pretending and counterfactual reasoning engage the same component cognitive abilities: disengaging with current reality, making inferences about an alternative representation of reality, and keeping this representation separate from reality. In turn, according to causal models accounts, counterfactual reasoning is a crucial tool that children need to plan for the future and learn (...) about the world. Both planning with causal models and learning about them require the ability to create false premises and generate conclusions from these premises. We argue that pretending allows children to practice these important cognitive skills. We also consider the prevalence of unrealistic scenarios in children's play and explain how they can be useful in learning, despite appearances to the contrary. (shrink)
These days it is widely agreed that there is no such thing as absolute motion and rest; the motion of an object can only be characterized with respect to some chosen frame of reference.1 This is a fact of which many of us are well-aware, and yet a cursory consideration of the ways we ascribe motion to objects gives the impression that it is a fact we persistently ignore. We insist to the police officer that we came to a full (...) and complete stop at the stop sign, we fret that traffic is moving too slowly, we observe that the sun has dropped below the hills on the horizon, all without ever saying which frames of reference we have in mind. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that the notion of ‘context' that has to be used in the study of indexicals is far from univocal. A first distinction has to be made between the real context of speech and the context in which the speech act is supposed to take place — only the latter notion being relevant when it comes to determining the semantic values of indexicals. Second, we need to draw a distinction between the context of the locutionary act (...) and the context of the illocutionary act : contrary to a standard assumption of speech act theory, they can diverge, and their possible divergence explains a number of puzzling phenomena involving indexicals. (shrink)