Walton on ‘the Paradox of Fiction’: Confusions and Misunderstandings

Matravers, Derek (2021). Walton on ‘the Paradox of Fiction’: Confusions and Misunderstandings. In: Sedivy, Sonia ed. Art, Representation, and Make-Believe: Essays on the Philosophy of Kendall L. Walton. Routledge, pp. 58–73.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.4324/9780367808662-5


This chapter considers the reception of Kendall Walton’s work on what has become known as ‘the paradox of fiction’. It argues that Walton has been multiply misunderstood. In particular, the following are misattributions: the term ‘quasi emotion’ refers to an emotion felt towards fiction; Walton is committed to the cognitive theory of the emotions; Walton holds that emotions felt towards fiction are not genuine emotions. It reconstructs Walton’s positive account which makes imagination central, formulates and rejects a common objection to Walton, and argues that Walton faces a problem in that his view equivocates over a broad and narrow sense of ‘imagination’.

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