Fearing fictionally · Kendall L. Walton. In Alex Neill & Aaron Ridley (eds.), Arguing About Art: Contemporary Philosophical Debates. Routledge. pp. (). University of Michigan Professor Kendall Walton wrote his groundbreaking paper “Fearing Fictions” back in His paper truly merits all the. K. Walton on Fearing Fiction. In Stecker and Gracyk, Aesthetics Today (). This document is a summary of Kendall Walton, “Spelunking.

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Find it on Scholar. At the heart of the Thought Theory lies the view that, although our emotional responses to actual characters and events may require beliefs in their existence, there is no good reason to hold up this particular type of emotional response as the model for understanding emotional response in general.

In response to this objection, Radford offers the following two considerations: Walton – – Journal of Philosophy 75 1: It is her make-believe uncertainty.

Sipping Philosophy

Consider how these guide our imaginations — the words of a novel or the visuals of a movie guide our imagining. Of course, what Radford means to say here is: If I do not believe that he has not and is not suffering or whatever, I cannot rationally grieve or be moved to tears. Walton introduces and supports his theory with reference to the familiar games of make-believe played by young children—games in which globs of mud are taken to be pies, for example, or games in which a father, pretending to be a vicious monster, will stalk his child and lunge at him at the crucial moment: You are commenting using your Twitter account.

Email required Address never made public. In a much-discussed article, and in a series of “Replies to my Critics” written over the next two decades, Colin Radford argues that our apparent ability to respond emotionally to fictional characters and events is “irrational, incoherent, and inconsistent” p.

An encyclopedia of philosophy articles written by professional philosophers. Of course, Walton’s position is that the only thing required here is the acceptance or recognition of a constituent principle underlying the game in question, and this acceptance may well be tacit rather than conscious.

The Paradox of Fiction

One of the major objections to his second premise considered by Radford is that, at least while we are engaged in the fiction, we somehow “forget” that what we are reading or watching isn’t real; in other words, that we get sufficiently “caught up” in the novel, movie, etc. But if it is the moving picture of the slime which frightens me for myselfthen my fear is irrational, etc.

The monsters just aren’t particularly horrifying, though they were intended to be” p. Waltln fictional works—especially suspense stories—can withstand multiple readings or viewings without becoming less effective.


By continuing to use this website, you agree to their use. Even when the existence beliefs posited by the Illusion theorist are of the weak or partial variety, Walton argues that.

Classical, Early, and Medieval Plays and Playwrights: In this regard, Charlie is confined to using only his mental feaging to conjure this personal game of make-believe that he uses to interact with the fictional world before him.

So the fact that we are frightened by fictional thoughts does not solve the problem but forms part of it.

No keywords specified fix it. I would say that our response to the appearance of the monster is a brute one that is at odds with and overrides our knowledge of what he is, and which in combination with our distancing knowledge that this is only a horror film, leads us to laugh—at the film, and at ourselves for being frightened” p.

And at least some of the principles constituting a personal game of make-believe may be implicit” p. It seems altogether inappropriate in such cases to maintain that our theatre-goers merely make-believe that they are in these emotional states”p. But I don’t think that that was really an option for those, like myself, who were overwhelmedly struck by it”p.

Kendall L. Walton, Fearing fictionally – PhilPapers

These premises are 1 that in order for us to be moved to tears, to anger, to horror by what we come to learn about various people and situations, we must believe that the people and situations in question really exist or existed; 2 that such “existence beliefs” are lacking when we knowingly engage with fictional texts; and 3 that fictional characters and kendalp do in fact seem capable of moving us at times.

David Novitz, for one, notes that “many theatre-goers and readers believe that they are actually upset, excited, amused, afraid, and even sexually aroused by the exploits of fictional characters. So his conclusion that our emotional responses to fiction are irrational appears valid and, however unsatisfactory, at the very least non-paradoxical.

Pretend theorists, most notably Kendall Walton, in effect deny premise 3arguing that it is not literally true that we fear horror film monsters or feel sad for fictiohs tragic heroes of Greek drama. A similar objection to Walton’s quasi-emotional states has been put forward by Glenn Hartz.

Such puzzles include the following:. Sign in Create an account. Carroll cites such forgettable pictures as The Brain from Planet Arous and Attack of the Fifty Foot Woman as evidence of his claim that some fictional texts simply fail to generate their intended emotional response. Somewhat surprisingly, the Thought Theory has generated relatively little critical discussion, a fact in virtue of which it can be said to occupy a privileged position today.

According to Walton, one of the games of make-believe we play with fiction is to imagine that the novel is a true report of the activities of a person or a thing, or whatever. A number of conflicting solutions to this paradox have been proposed by philosophers of art. Many of these attacks can be organized under the following two general headings: Even when the walgon beliefs posited by the Illusion theorist are of the weak or partial variety, Walton argues that Charles has no doubts about the whether he is in the presence of an actual slime.


Fearing for Our Mental Lives. Arguing on behalf of the Thought Theory, Murray Smith invites us to “imagine gripping the blade of a sharp knife and then having it pulled from your grip, slicing through the flesh of your hand. Aesthetics categorize this paper. So are the words of a novel, etc. As Noel Carroll writes in his book, The Philosophy of Horror”if it [the fear produced by horror films] were a pretend emotion, one would think that it could be engaged at will.

Many of these attacks can be organized under the following two general headings:. But Carroll thinks that it “strains credulity” to suppose that not only are we unaware of some of the rules of the game, but that “we are completely unaware of playing a game. In both cases, it is this quasi-fear which makes it the case that the respective game players are make-believedly not really afraid.

Paradox of Fiction, The | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

The objection here is that, assuming the accuracy of Walton’s account when it comes to children playing make-believe, it is simply not true to ordinary experience that consumers of fictions are in similar emotional states when watching movies, reading books, and the like. In Section 1we came across one of the most powerful objections to have been levied against the Illusion Theory to date: As Gregory Currie watlon, according to this latter theory, “we experience genuine emotions when we encounter fiction, but their relation to the story is causal rather than intentional; the story provokes thoughts about real people and situations, and these ficttions the intentional objects of our emotions”p.

On the one hand, we can’t just turn such responses off—refuse to play and prevent ourselves from being affected—like kids can. Glenn Hartz makes a similar point, feearing stronger language:. It is to these strategies, and some of the powerful criticisms that have been levied against them, that we now briefly turn. Thinking about the possibility of a friend getting the job that I want does not create genuine jealousy; it creates a simulated ,endallan imagined jealousy.

Classical, Early, and Medieval World History: