Don't have an account? Solutions to the definitional problem are defined largely in relation to Kendall Walton's view on the subject. His book, Mimesis as Make-Believe , presents a general theory of representation of which a solution to the definitional problem forms a part. However, they are not really feeling emotions; they are merely in some state which makes it true that in the game they are feeling emotions.
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This summer, I took a phenomenal Philosophy and Literature course at Stanford. What follows is a summary of the culminating paper I wrote for it. His paper truly merits all the critical acclaim it has received throughout the years: By clearly and precisely laying out his theory of make-believe, we can now better understand how a consumer of fiction interacts with the fictional work.
Charlie sits in his local movie theater watching a horror movie depicting a giant ball of green slime rolling right at him. If you asked Charlie what he is feeling, he would unequivocally affirm that he feels fear. Walton correctly emphasizes that not even a tiny part of Charlie actually believes that the slime is real and that it poses a threat to his life.
If this were the case, as Walton points out, Charlie would be at least slightly inclined to flee the theater or call the police. Granted that he has no such inclination, Charlie could not possibly believe that the slime poses a serious threat at all.
Instead, Walton claims that Charlie pretends to belief himself in danger and thus pretends to feel fear of the slime. Walton posits the existence of apparently two separate manifestations of Charlie. The first Charlie is the one sitting in the movie theater watching an exciting new movie he has just paid an exorbitant sum of money for.
This Charlie interacts and experiences the realm of reality we all are so used to. Notably, this game of make-believe to which our second fictional Charlie is sent is a personal one that only Charlie has access to.
In this regard, Charlie is confined to using only his mental faculties to conjure this personal game of make-believe that he uses to interact with the fictional world before him. The consumer necessarily plays a character in this personal fictional world distinct from the consumer herself.
If indeed Walton is correct in maintaining that engagement with fiction is something that Charlie merely pretends to believe, then that would in no way stimulate somatic responses that Walton acknowledges to be automatic. You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Google account. You are commenting using your Twitter account. You are commenting using your Facebook account. Notify me of new comments via email. Notify me of new posts via email.
The essay is an alternative to Lamarque's position. The framing question: Why are we interested in fictional worlds if we know they are fictions? I watch a movie, The Slime , and I know that there is no such monster who can threaten me. Can I fear the slime? Walton's framing assumption: We respond to such worlds by imagining them.
The Paradox of Fiction
His book Mimesis as Make Believe: On the Foundations of the Representational Arts develops a theory of make-believe and uses it to understand the nature and varieties of representation in the arts. Walton studied as an undergraduate at the University of California, Berkeley , originally pursuing a major in music, having been a serious musician, probably headed towards music theory. However, a philosophy course in his sophomore year convinced him to change his major, tentatively, from music to philosophy. Because of his background in music, Walton expected that he would have an interest in aesthetics and philosophy of art, but was unmoved by his contacts with these fields at Berkeley. After having been invited to teach a course on aesthetics that he was not fully prepared for having only had the one seminar with Sibley , he stayed up nearly all night brainstorming topics,  which led to his paper 'Categories of Art'. He joined the University of Michigan faculty in , and became Charles L. Stevenson Collegiate Professor in