Social Imaginaries

Volume 5, Issue 1, Spring 2019

Varieties of Creative Imagination

Michela Summa
Pages 97-119

Is Make-Believe Only Reproduction?
Remarks on the Role of Fiction in Shaping Our Sense of Reality

This paper develops an analysis of the relation between fiction and make-believe based on the achievements of imagination. The argument aims at a “reciprocal supplementation” between two approaches to fiction. According to one approach, pretense or make-believe structures play a crucial role in our experience of fiction. Discussing Husserl’s view on bound imagining and Walton’s account of fiction as make-believe, I show why pretense and make-believe cannot thereby be reduced to the mere reproduction of something we would experience as original. According to the other approach, which is presented in Ricoeur’s work on imagination, fiction exemplifies a productive or creative power of imagination that is not active in pretense or make-believe activities. The reciprocal supplementation between these two approaches concerns the following aspects: on the one hand, I wish show why Husserl and Walton allow us to rectify Ricoeur’s claim that make-believe is only reproductive. On the other hand, taking up some of Ricoeur’s insights, I wish to clarify why such an impact should be understood in terms of transformation.