Fearing Fictions
Walton (Kendall L.)
Source: Journal of Philosophy 75.1, Jan. 1978, pp. 5-27
Paper - Abstract

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Philosophers Index Abstract

  1. It is a mistake to suppose that real people normally detest Iago, pity Willy Loman, and bear other psychological relations to fictional entities. Spectators at a horror movie are (normally) make-believedly, not really, afraid.
  2. This leads to a new way of understanding the notions of "suspension of disbelief" and "decrease of distance." We do not believe that Iago and Willy Loman are real; instead we become fictional ourselves.
  3. Rather than somehow promoting fictions to the status of reality, we descend to the level of fiction. This opens the way for illuminating explanations of how fiction is important in our lives.

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