Date of Submission
Open Access Senior Thesis
Bachelor of Arts
© 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.
Gleiberman, Jack Rhein, "Believing Fictions: A Philosophical Analysis of Fictional Engagement" (2019). CMC Senior Theses. 2243.