The fiction of paradox: really feeling for Anna Karenina

In Ylva Gustafsson, Camilla Kronqvist & Michael McEachrane (eds.), Emotions and Understanding: Wittgensteinian Perspectives. Palgrave-Macmillan (2009)
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How is it that we can be moved by what we know does not exist? In this paper, I examine the so-called 'paradox of fiction', showing that it fatally hinges on cognitive theories of emotion such as Kendall Walton's pretend theory and Peter Lamarque's thought theory. I reject these theories and acknowledge the concept-formative role of genuine emotion generated by fiction. I then argue, contra Jenefer Robinson, that this 'éducation sentimentale' is not achieved through distancing, but rather through the engagement of our emotions. Literature does this, I claim, by its uniquely perspicuous presentations of emotional concepts, and the cognitive pleasure that such 'presentations' prompt in us.



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Danièle Moyal-Sharrock
University of Hertfordshire

Citations of this work

How literature expands your imagination.Antonia Peacocke - 2020 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 103 (2):298-319.
La paradoja de la ficción.Íngrid Vendrell-Ferran - 2021 - Enciclopedia de la Sociedad Española de Filosofía Analítica.

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