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The Nature of Fiction

Cambridge University Press (1990)

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  1. Fiction and Importation.Andreas Stokke - 2022 - Linguistics and Philosophy 45 (1):65-89.
    Importation in fictional discourse is the phenomenon by which audiences include information in the story over and above what is explicitly stated by the narrator. This paper argues that importation is distinct from generation, the phenomenon by which truth in fiction may outstrip what is made explicit, and draws a distinction between fictional truth and fictional records. The latter comprises the audience’s picture of what is true according to the narrator. The paper argues that importation into fictional records operates according (...)
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  • Truths Containing Empty Names.Michael McKinsey - 2016 - In Piotr Stalmaszczyk & Luis Fernandez Moreno (eds.), Philosophical Approaches to Proper Names. Peter Lang. pp. 175-202.
    Abstract. On the Direct Reference thesis, proper names are what I call ‘genuine terms’, terms whose sole semantic contributions to the propositions expressed by their use are the terms’ semantic referents. But unless qualified, this thesis implies the false consequence that sentences containing names that fail to refer can never express true or false propositions. (Consider ‘The ancient Greeks worshipped Zeus’, for instance.) I suggest that while names are typically and fundamentally used as genuine terms, there is a small class (...)
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  • Fictional Reports A Study on the Semantics of Fictional Names.Fiora Salis - 2010 - Theoria: Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia 25 (2):175-185.
    Against standard descriptivist and referentialist semantics for fictional reports, I will defend a view according to which fictional names do not refer yet they can be distinguished from one another in virtue of their different name-using practices. The logical structures of sentences containing fictional names inherit these distinctions. Different interpretations follow.
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  • A Pragmatic Framework for Truth in Fiction.Andrea Bonomi & Sandro Zucchi - 2003 - Dialectica 57 (2):103–120.
    In this paper we propose a semantic analysis of sentences of the form "In fiction x, p" based on this picture of context. We argue that the derived contexts for sentences in the scope of "In fiction X" are determined by three factors: what the beliefs of the author are taken to be, the conventions established for the fiction, and a defeasible presumption of reliability of the narrator. We develop a formal implementation based on the notion of a system of (...)
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  • Truth in Fiction.Franck Lihoreau (ed.) - 2011 - Ontos Verlag.
    The essays collected in this volume are all concerned with the connection between fiction and truth. This question is of utmost importance to metaphysics, philosophy of language, philosophical logic and epistemology, raising in each of these areas and at their intersections a large number of issues related to creation, existence, reference, identity, modality, belief, assertion, imagination, pretense, etc. All these topics and many more are addressed in this collection, which brings together original essays written from various points of view by (...)
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  • Fictionalism About Musical Works.Anton Killin - 2018 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 48 (2):266-291.
    The debate concerning the ontological status of musical works is perhaps the most animated debate in contemporary analytic philosophy of music. In my view, progress requires a piecemeal approach. So in this article I hone in on one particular musical work concept – that of the classical Western art musical work; that is, the work concept that regulates classical art-musical practice. I defend a fictionalist analysis – a strategy recently suggested by Andrew Kania as potentially fruitful – and I develop (...)
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  • Speaking of Fictional Characters.Amie L. Thomasson - 2003 - Dialectica 57 (2):205–223.
    The challenge of handling fictional discourse is to find the best way to resolve the apparent inconsistencies in our ways of speaking about fiction. A promising approach is to take at least some such discourse to involve pretense, but does all fictional discourse involve pretense? I will argue that a better, less revisionary, solution is to take internal and fictionalizing discourse to involve pretense, while allowing that in external critical discourse, fictional names are used seriously to refer to fictional characters. (...)
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  • Deriving and Validating Kripkean Claims Using the Theory of Abstract Objects.Edward N. Zalta - 2006 - Noûs 40 (4):591–622.
    In this paper, the author shows how one can independently prove, within the theory of abstract objects, some of the most significant claims, hypotheses, and background assumptions found in Kripke's logical and philosophical work. Moreover, many of the semantic features of theory of abstract objects are consistent with Kripke's views — the successful representation, in the system, of the truth conditions and entailments of philosophically puzzling sentences of natural language validates certain Kripkean semantic claims about natural language.
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  • How Fictional Works Are Related to Fictional Entities.Alberto Voltolini - 2003 - Dialectica 57 (2):225–238.
    The paper attempts at yielding a language-independent argument in favour of fictional entities, that is, an argument providing genuinely ontological reasons in favour of such entities. According to this argument, ficta are indispensable insofar as they are involved in the identity conditions of semantically-based entities we ordinarily accept, i.e. fictional works. It will also be evaluated to what extent this argument is close to other arguments recently provided to the same purpose.
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  • Fate, Fiction and the Future.Robin Le Poidevin - 2001 - Philosophical Papers 30 (1):69-92.
    Abstract Some fictions, it seems, represent the future as closed, in the sense that some future-tensed propositions are true in those fictions. Yet it is surprisingly difficult to accommodate this plausible thesis within an account of truth in fiction. A number of putative examples of closed fictional futures are discussed (Macbeth, Oedipus, Time and the Conways, The Time Machine) and the problems encountered in reconciling them with various accounts of truth in fiction (David Lewis', Gregory Currie's, Alex Byrne's) elaborated. Connections (...)
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  • Against the Precisificational Approach to Fictional Inconsistencies.Inchul Yum - forthcoming - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy.
    Fictional realists claim that fictional characters like Spiderman really do exist. Against this view, Anthony Everett (2005; 2013) argues that fictional realists cannot determine whether characters α and β are identical if the relevant fiction states that α and β are identical and distinct at the same time. Some fictional realists, such as Ross Cameron (2013) and Richard Woodward (2017), respond to this objection by saying that the sense in which α and β are identical differs from the sense in (...)
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  • Elusive Fictional Truth.Craig Bourne & Emily Caddick Bourne - 2022 - British Journal of Aesthetics 62 (1):15-31.
    We argue that some fictional truths are fictionally true by default. We also argue that these fictional truths are subject to being undermined. We propose that the context within which we are to evaluate what is fictionally true changes when a possibility which was previously ignorable is brought to attention. We argue that these cases support a model of fictional truth which makes the conversational dynamics of determining truth in fiction structurally akin to the conversational dynamics of knowledge-ascription, as this (...)
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  • Two-Dimensional Semantics and Fictional Names: The Myth of Intension.Seong Soo Park - 2021 - Philosophia 50 (2):639-658.
    According to two-dimensional semantics, primary intension and secondary intension can play the role of reflecting the cognitive aspect of an expression like Fregean sense does. The aim of this paper is to argue that this role is likely a myth. To argue for this, I attempt to show that cognitive aspects of fictional names cannot be explained within the framework of two-dimensional semantics. To be more specific, I consider four ontological theories about fictional characters that two-dimensional semanticists might be tempted (...)
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  • ‘Truth in Fiction’ Reprised.Manuel García-Carpintero - 2022 - British Journal of Aesthetics 62 (2):307-324.
    The paper surveys recent appraisals of David Lewis’s seminal paper on truth in fiction. It examines variations on standard criticisms of Lewis’s account, aiming to show that, if developed as Lewis suggests in his 1983 Postscript A, his proposals on the topic are—as Hanley puts it—‘as good as it gets’. Thus elaborated, Lewis’s account can resist the objections, and it offers a better picture of fictional discourse than recent resurrections of other classic works of the 1970s by Kripke, van Inwagen (...)
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  • Sham Emotions, Quasi-Emotions or Non-Genuine Emotions? Fictional Emotions and Their Qualitative Feel.Ingrid Vendrell Ferran - 2022 - In Thiemo Breyer, Marco Cavallaro & Rodrigo Sandoval (eds.), Phenomenology of Phantasy and Emotion. Darmstadt: WBG Academic.
    Contemporary accounts on fictional emotions, i.e., emotions experienced towards objects we know to be fictional, are mainly concerned with explaining their rationality or lack thereof. In this context dominated by an interest in the role of belief, questions regarding their phenomenal quality have received far less attention: it is often assumed that they feel “similar” to emotions that target real objects. Against this background, this paper focuses on the possible specificities of fictional emotions’ qualitative feel. It starts by presenting what (...)
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  • Imagination.Shen-yi Liao & Tamar Gendler - 2019 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    To imagine is to form a mental representation that does not aim at things as they actually, presently, and subjectively are. One can use imagination to represent possibilities other than the actual, to represent times other than the present, and to represent perspectives other than one’s own. Unlike perceiving and believing, imagining something does not require one to consider that something to be the case. Unlike desiring or anticipating, imagining something does not require one to wish or expect that something (...)
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  • Fiction.Fred Kroon - forthcoming - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  • Imagination.Tamar Szabó Gendler - 2011 - In Edward N. Zalta (ed.), Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Center for the Study of Language and Information, Stanford University.
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  • Interpreting plural predication: homogeneity and non-maximality.Manuel Križ & Benjamin Spector - 2021 - Linguistics and Philosophy 44 (5):1131-1178.
    Plural definite descriptions across many languages display two well-known properties. First, they can give rise to so-called non-maximal readings, in the sense that they ‘allow for exceptions’. Second, while they tend to have a quasi-universal quantificational force in affirmative sentences, they tend to be interpreted existentially in the scope of negation. Building on previous works, we offer a theory in which sentences containing plural definite expressions trigger a family of possible interpretations, and where general principles of language use account for (...)
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  • Fiction Cannot Be True.László Kajtár - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (9):2167-2186.
    According to the dominant theory of intentionalism, fiction and non-fiction are in a “mix-and-match” relationship with truth and falsity: both fiction and nonfiction can be either true or false. Intentionalists hold that fiction is a property of a narrative that is intended to elicit not belief but imagination or make-belief in virtue of the audience’s recognizing that such is the intention of the fiction-maker. They claim that in unlikely circumstances these fictions can turn out to be accidentally true. On the (...)
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  • Explaining Imagination.Peter Langland-Hassan - 2020 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    ​Imagination will remain a mystery—we will not be able to explain imagination—until we can break it into parts we already understand. Explaining Imagination is a guidebook for doing just that, where the parts are other ordinary mental states like beliefs, desires, judgments, and decisions. In different combinations and contexts, these states constitute cases of imagining. This reductive approach to imagination is at direct odds with the current orthodoxy, according to which imagination is a sui generis mental state or process—one with (...)
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  • Fictional Characters and Their Discontents: Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics of Fictional Entities.Shamik Chakravarty - 2021 - Dissertation, Lingnan University
    In recent metaphysics, the questions of whether fictional entities exist, what their nature is, and how to explain truths of statements such as “Sherlock Holmes lives at 221B Baker Street” and “Holmes was created by Arthur Conan Doyle” have been subject to much debate. The main aim of my thesis is to wrestle with key proponents of the abstractionist view that fictional entities are abstract objects that exist (van Inwagen 1977, 2018, Thomasson 1999 and Salmon 1998) as well as Walton’s (...)
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  • Just Kidding: Stand-Up, Speech Acts and Slurs.Peter Alward - 2021 - Disputatio 13 (60):1-25.
    People respond to moral criticism of their speech by claiming that they were joking. In this paper, I develop a speech act analysis of the humor excuse consisting of a negative stage, in which the speaker denies he or she was making an assertion, and a positive stage, in which the speaker claims she or he was engaged in non-serious/humorous speech instead. This analysis, however, runs afoul of the group identity objection, according to which there is a moral distinction between (...)
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  • Possible Worlds Semantics and Fiction.Diane Proudfoot - 2006 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 35:9-40.
    The canonical version of possible worlds semantics for story prefixes is due to David Lewis. This paper reassesses Lewis's theory and draws attention to some novel problems for his account.
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  • Mathematics and Fiction II: Analogy.Robert Thomas - 2002 - Logique Et Analyse 45:185-228.
    The object of this paper is to study the analogy, drawn both positively and negatively, between mathematics and fiction. The analogy is more subtle and interesting than fictionalism, which was discussed in part I. Because analogy is not common coin among philosophers, this particular analogy has been discussed or mentioned for the most part just in terms of specific similarities that writers have noticed and thought worth mentioning without much attention's being paid to the larger picture. I intend with this (...)
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  • Files for Fiction.Eleonora Orlando - 2017 - Acta Analytica 32 (1):55-71.
    In this essay, I appeal to the mental file approach in order to give an anti-realist semantic analysis of statements containing fictional names. I claim that fictive and parafictive uses of them express conceptual, though not general, propositions constituted by mental files, anchored in the conceptual world of the corresponding fictional story. Moreover, by positing a referential shift determined by the presence of a simulative referential intention characteristic of those uses, it is possible to take them to be true with (...)
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  • Thoughtful Brutes.Tomas Hribek - 2012 - Organon F: Medzinárodný Časopis Pre Analytickú Filozofiu 19:70-82.
    Donald Davidson and John Searle famously differ, among other things, on the issue of animal thoughts. Davidson seems to be a latter-day Cartesian, denying any propositional thought to subhuman animals, while Searle seems to follow Hume in claiming that if we have thoughts, then animals do, too. Davidson’s argument centers on the idea that language is necessary for thought, which Searle rejects. The paper argues two things. Firstly, Searle eventually argues that much of a more complex thought does depend on (...)
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  • Introduction: exploring the limits of imagination.Amy Kind - 2022 - Synthese 200 (2):1-14.
  • Empty Names, Fictional Names, Mythical Names.David Braun - 2005 - Noûs 39 (4):596–631.
    John Stuart Mill (1843) thought that proper names denote individuals and do not connote attributes. Contemporary Millians agree, in spirit. We hold that the semantic content of a proper name is simply its referent. We also think that the semantic content of a declarative sentence is a Russellian structured proposition whose constituents are the semantic contents of the sentence’s constituents. This proposition is what the sentence semantically expresses. Therefore, we think that sentences containing proper names semantically express singular propositions, which (...)
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  • Lost in Intensity: Is There an Empirical Solution to the Quasi-Emotions Debate?Steve Humbert-Droz, Amanda Ludmilla Garcia, Vanessa Sennwald, Fabrice Teroni, Julien Deonna, David Sander & Florian Cova - 2020 - Aesthetic Investigations 4:460-482.
    Contrary to the emotions we feel in everyday contexts, the emotions we feel for fictional characters do not seem to require a belief in the existence of their object. This observation has given birth to a famous philosophical paradox (the ‘paradox of fiction’), and has led some philosophers to claim that the emotions we feel for fictional characters are not genuine emotions but rather “quasi-emotions”. Since then, the existence of quasi-emotions has been a hotly debated issue. Recently, philosophers and psychologists (...)
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  • A New Class of Fictional Truths.Hannah H. Kim - 2021 - The Philosophical Quarterly 72 (1):90-107.
    It is widely agreed that more is true in a work of fiction than explicitly said. In addition to directly stipulated fictional content (explicit truth), inference and background assumptions give us implicit truths. However, this taxonomy of fictional truths overlooks an important class of fictional truth: those generated by literary formal features. Fictional works generate fictional content by both semantic and formal means, and content arising from formal features such as italics or font size are neither explicit nor implicit: not (...)
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  • Commentary on Fiction: A Philosophical Analysis, by Catharine Abell; and Apt Imaginings: Feelings for Fictions and Other Creatures of the Mind by Jonathan Gilmore.Gregory Currie - 2022 - British Journal of Aesthetics 62 (2):185-194.
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  • Definition of Fiction: State of the Art.David Davies - 2022 - British Journal of Aesthetics 62 (2):241-255.
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  • Demoting Fictional Names—A Critical Note to Predelli’s Fictional Discourse: A Radical Fictionalist Semantics.Tatjana von Solodkoff - 2022 - British Journal of Aesthetics 62 (2):223-230.
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  • Fiction and Epistemic Value: State of the Art.Mitchell Green - 2022 - British Journal of Aesthetics 62 (2):273-289.
    We critically survey prominent recent scholarship on the question of whether fiction can be a source of epistemic value for those who engage with it fully and appropriately. Such epistemic value might take the form of knowledge or understanding. Both camps may be sorted according to a further distinction between views explaining fiction’s epistemic value either in terms of the author’s engaging in a form of telling, or instead via their showing some state of affairs to obtain, a special case (...)
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  • Fictional Reference: How to Account for Both Directedness and Uniformity.Alberto Voltolini - 2022 - British Journal of Aesthetics 62 (2):291-305.
    In the old days of descriptivism, fictional reference and non-fictional reference with proper names were treated on a par. Descriptivism was not an intuitive theory, but it meritoriously provided a unitary semantic account of names, whether referentially full or empty. Then the revolution of the new theory of reference occurred. This new theory is definitely more intuitive than descriptivism, yet it comes with a drawback: the referentially full use and the referentially empty use, notably the fictional use, of names are (...)
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  • Fact, Fiction, and Fantasy.Ben Blumson - 2015 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 39 (1):46-57.
    This paper argues: (1) All knowledge from fiction is from imagination (2) All knowledge from imagination is modal knowledge (3) So, all knowledge from fiction is modal knowledge Moreover, some knowledge is from fiction, so (1)-(3) are non-vacuously true.
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  • Fiction: A Philosophical Analysis. [REVIEW]Richard Woodward - forthcoming - Mind.
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  • La paradoja de la ficción.Íngrid Vendrell-Ferran - 2021 - Enciclopedia de la Sociedad Española de Filosofía Analítica.
  • Mundos imaginarios y cuasi-emociones: la solución a la paradoja de la ficción en Walton y Currie.Federico Burdman - 2014 - Cuadernos de Filosofía 61:63-77.
    Las soluciones a la paradoja de la ficción propuestas por Kendall Walton y Gregory Currie, a pesar de diferir en puntos de detalle importantes, suponen dos movimientos conceptuales comunes para entender la situación de quien está inmerso en una obra de ficción, a través del recurso a la noción de “cuasi-emociones” y de la idea de construcción de escenarios imaginarios. Aquí propondré que sus propuestas fallan en sus dos puntos centrales, a partir de problemas que son, sin embargo, independientes. Por (...)
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  • Coping With Imaginative Resistance.Daniel Altshuler & Emar Maier - forthcoming - Journal of Semantics.
    We propose to characterize imaginative resistance as the failure or unwillingness of the reader to take a fictional description of a deviant reality at face value. The goal of the paper is to explore how readers deal with such a breakdown of the default Face Value interpretation strategy. We posit two distinct interpretative ‘coping’ strategies which help the reader engage with the resistance-inducing fiction by attributing the offending content to one of the fictional characters. We present novel empirical evidence that (...)
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  • Experimental Philosophy of Aesthetics.Florian Cova - forthcoming - In Max Bauer & Stephan Kornmesser (eds.), Compact compendium of experimental philosophy. De Gruyter.
    In this chapter, I present a comprehensive review of the literature on experimental philosophy of aesthetics.
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  • Getting Carried Away: Evaluating the Emotional Influence of Fiction Film.Stacie Friend - 2010 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 34 (1):77-105.
    It is widely taken for granted that fictions, including both literature and film,influence our attitudes toward real people, events, and situations. Philosopherswho defend claims about the cognitive value of fiction view this influence in apositive light, while others worry about the potential moral danger of fiction.Marketers hope that visual and aural references to their products in movies willhave an effect on people’s buying patterns. Psychologists study the persuasiveimpact of media. Educational books and films are created in the hopes of guidingchildren’s (...)
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  • The Rationality of Emotion Toward Fiction.K. I. M. Seahwa - 2010 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 34 (1):106-119.
  • The Rationality of Emotion Toward Fiction.Seahwa Kim - 2010 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 34 (1):106-119.
  • Simulation, Co-Cognition, and the Attribution of Emotional States.Bill Wringe - 2003 - European Journal of Philosophy 11 (3):353-374.
    In this paper I argue that there is a viable simulationist account of emotion attribution. However, I also try to say something specific about the form that this account ought to take. I argue that someone who wants to give by a simulationist account of emotion attribution should focus on similarities between emotions and perceptual judgments.
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  • Fictional Names and the Problem of Intersubjective Identification.Fiora Salis - 2013 - Dialectica 67 (3):283-301.
    The problem of intersubjective identification arises from the difficulties of explaining how our thoughts and discourse about fictional characters can be directed towards the same (or different) characters given the assumption that there are no fictional entities. In this paper I aim to offer a solution in terms of participation in a practice of thinking and talking about the same thing, which is inspired by Sainsbury's name-using practices. I will critically discuss a similar idea that was put forward by Friend (...)
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  • Imaginative Contagion.Tamar Szabo Gendler - 2006 - Metaphilosophy 37 (2):183-203.
    The aim of this article is to expand the diet of examples considered in philosophical discussions of imagination and pretense, and to offer some preliminary observations about what we might learn about the nature of imagination as a result. The article presents a number of cases involving imaginative contagion: cases where merely imagining or pretending that P has effects that we would expect only perceiving or believing that P to have. Examples are offered that involve visual imagery, motor imagery, fictional (...)
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  • Pretense, Counterfactuals, and Bayesian Causal Models: Why What Is Not Real Really Matters.Deena S. Weisberg & Alison Gopnik - 2013 - Cognitive Science 37 (7):1368-1381.
    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 (...)
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  • Aptness of Emotions for Fictions and Imaginings.Jonathan Gilmore - 2011 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 92 (4):468-489.
    Many philosophical accounts of the emotions conceive of them as susceptible to assessments of rationality, fittingness, or some other notion of aptness. Analogous assumptions apply in cases of emotions directed at what are taken to be only fictional or only imagined. My question is whether the criteria governing the aptness of emotions we have toward what we take to be real things apply invariantly to those emotions we have toward what we take to be only fictional or imagined. I argue (...)
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