Fictionality in imagined worlds

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract / Description of output

What does it mean for a proposition to be “true in a fiction”? According to the account offered by Kendall Walton in Mimesis as Make-Believe (1990), what is fictionally true, or simply fictional, is what a work of fiction invites or prescribes that we imagine. To say that it is fictional that Okonkwo kills Ikemefuna in Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, for example, is to say that we are supposed to imagine that event. Yet, Walton gives no account of the kind of imagining involved in understanding fictionality or fictional truth. This chapter argues that the relevant kind of imagining is imagining a storyworld. Relying on resources from the psychology of narrative comprehension, it develops an account of this sort of imagining as well as the nature of the invitations or prescriptions to imagine generated by fiction. The account proposed can be defended against various criticisms of Walton’s original view, including his own argument in 2015 that prescriptions to imagine provide only necessary but not sufficient conditions for fictionality.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationArt, Representation, and Make-Believe
Subtitle of host publicationEssays on the Philosophy of Kendall L. Walton
EditorsSonia Sedivy
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9780367808662
ISBN (Print)9781000396195
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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