Volume 7, April 2014
Resolving the Paradox of Fiction
A Defense of Irrationalism
In this paper, I examine the Paradox of Fiction: (1) in order for us to have genuine and rational emotional responses to a character or situation, we must believe that the character or situation is not purely fictional, (2) we believe that fictional characters and situations are purely fictional, and (3) we have genuine and rational emotional responses to fictional characters and situations. After defending (1) and (2) against formidable objections and considering the plausibility of ~(3) in isolation of (1) and (2), I conclude that we should resolve the Paradox of Fiction by rejecting (3).