Volume 1, 2018
Aesthetics and Philosophies of Art
Lisa Katharin Schmalzried
A Metatheoretical Solution of the Paradox of Fiction
Person x believes that y is a fictional character and does not exist (P1). X has a y-directed emotion (P2). If one has an emotion, one believes that the intentional object of this emotion exists. Otherwise, the emotion vanishes or, if not, becomes irrational (P3). These three, initially plausible assumptions constitute the paradox of fiction. To solve this paradox, one must negate one of them. The theory of illusion rejects P1, assuming that one temporally loses the nonexistence-belief. The theory of projection denies P2, claiming that the object of the emotions is only prima facie a fictional character. The theory of quasi-emotions also abandons P2. The fictional-character-directed emotions are no real, but quasi-emotions. Nowadays, most writers attack P3 and assume that a mere thought about x is enough to have an x-directed emotion. The paper intends to show how these solutions are connected with different theories of emotions. A feeling-theory of emotion and also a wide cognitive theory leads to the rejection of P3 whereas a strict cognitive theory defends P3. The crucial insight is that no matter which theory of emotion one accepts the paradox dissolves. So the paper presents a metatheoretical solution of the paradox of fiction.