Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Amy Kind

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2019 Jack R Gleiberman


Works of fiction do things to us, and we do things because of works of fiction. When reading Hamlet, I mentally represent certain propositions about its characters and events, I want the story and its characters to go a certain way, and I emotionally respond to its goings-on. I might deem Hamlet a coward, I might wish that Hamlet stabbed Claudius when he had the chance, and I might feel sorrow at Ophelia’s senseless suicide. These fiction-directed mental states seem to resemble the propositional attitudes of belief, desire, and emotion, respectively — the everyday attitudes that represent and orient us toward the world. These mental states constitute our engagement with fiction, and the way in which they hang together is central to understanding our engagement with fiction. In that aim, this thesis hopes to provide an analysis of our belief-like attitudes about works of fiction. I argue that a folk psychological theory of fictional engagement should call upon belief, not imagination, to serve as the primary cognitive attitude with which we engage fictions.


Best Senior Thesis in Philosophy