British Journal of Aesthetics 60 (3):241-251 (2020)

What do players of videogames mean when they say they want to shoot zombies? Surely they know that the zombies are not real, and that they cannot really shoot them, but only control a fictional character who does so. Some philosophers of fiction argue that we need the concept of imaginative desires to explain situations in which people feel desires towards fictional characters or desires that motivate pretend actions. Others claim that we can explain these situations without complicating human psychology with a novel mental state. Within their debates, however, these scholars exclusively focus on non-interactive fictions and children’s games of make-believe. In this paper, I argue that our experience of immersive, interactive fictions like videogames gives us cause to reappraise the concept of imaginative desires. Moreover, I describe how i-desires are a useful conceptual tool within videogame development and can shed new light on apparently immoral in-game actions.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1093/aesthj/ayz049
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 65,784
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

On the Aim of Belief.David Velleman - 2000 - In The Possibility of Practical Reason. Oxford University Press. pp. 244--81.
The Puzzle of Imaginative Desire.Amy Kind - 2011 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 89 (3):421-439.
Video Games as Self‐Involving Interactive Fictions.Jon Robson & Aaron Meskin - 2016 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 74 (2):165-177.

View all 6 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Imagination, Desire, and Rationality.Shannon Spaulding - 2015 - Journal of Philosophy 112 (9):457-476.
The Puzzle of Imaginative Desire.Amy Kind - 2011 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 89 (3):421-439.
Belief and Desire in Imagination and Immersion.Susanna Schellenberg - 2013 - Journal of Philosophy 110 (9):497-517.
The Art of Videogames.Grant Tavinor - 2009 - Wiley-Blackwell.
Freedom of the Will and the Concept of a Person.Harry G. Frankfurt - 1971 - Journal of Philosophy 68 (1):5-20.
Eluding Wilson’s “Elusive Narrators”.David Davies - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 147 (3):387 - 394.
Desires and Reasons.Alan Goldman - 2009 - American Philosophical Quarterly 46 (4):291 - 304.
Extracting Fictional Truth From Unreliable Sources.Emar Maier & Merel Semeijn - 2021 - In Emar Maier & Andreas Stokke (eds.), The Language of Fiction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Leave Me Out of It: De Re, but Not de Se, Imaginative Engagement with Fiction.Peter Alward - 2006 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 64 (4):451–459.


Added to PP index

Total views
22 ( #500,760 of 2,463,118 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
6 ( #119,678 of 2,463,118 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes