The Journal of Value Inquiry

, Volume 46, Issue 4, pp 449–465 | Cite as

Attending Emotionally to Fiction

  • Cain Todd


Philosophers have long been concerned with what is generally known as the paradox of fiction. This is the prima facie puzzling phenomenon that we appear to have emotional responses to fictional characters, events and situations that we know to be fictional, and yet our ordinary, everyday emotional responses in non-fictional contexts appear to possess as essential components various features that preclude their being directed at fiction. The two such features generally cited are (a) existential beliefs about the relevant objects and their properties and (b) connections to behaviour and action. Henceforth I will normally refer to the relevant responses as ‘F-emotions,’ where this is shorthand for ‘fiction-directed emotions.’

The paradox has spawned a large literature and there are a number of more or less plausible explanations of it on the market. Nonetheless, to my mind no account has yet succeeded in providing a comprehensive resolution, primarily because the paradox...


Practical Reasoning Cognitive Architecture Pretend Play Emotional Engagement Epistemic Relation 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Politics, Philosophy and ReligionLancaster UniversityLancasterUK
  2. 2.University of FribourgFribourgSwitzerland

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