1st Edition

The Philosophy of Fiction Imagination and Cognition

Edited By Patrik Engisch, Julia Langkau Copyright 2023

    This book presents new research on the crucial role that imagination plays in contemporary philosophy of fiction.

    The first part of the book challenges the main paradigm set by Kendall Walton and Gregory Currie, according to which there is a necessary connection between fiction and a prescription that we engage imaginatively with its content. The contributors address the fundamental questions of how we can define fiction, and especially whether we can define fiction in terms of imagination. The second part focuses on a distinct but related question: can we point to some distinctive experiential features of our engagement with fiction? In the third part, the focus lies on the cognitive value of fiction and on the role that imagination plays in that respect. The chapters in this part discuss the cognitive value of fiction with respect to issues such as the training of the faculty of imagination, phenomenal experience, empathy, and the emotions.

    The Philosophy of Fiction will be of interest to scholars and advanced students working in aesthetics, philosophy of mind, epistemology, and literary studies.


    Chapter 13 of this book is available for free in PDF format as Open Access from the individual product page at www.routledge.com. It has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 4.0 license.

    Introduction Patrik Engisch and Julia Langkau

    I. Imagination and the Definition of Fiction

    1 Projecting Fiction Richard Woodward

    2 Fiction, Imagination, and Narrative Patrik Engisch

    3 Fiction and the Actual World Derek Matravers

    4 The Creative Side of Recreative Imagination Margherita Arcangeli

    II. Imagination and Engagement with Fiction

    5 Fictional Narrators and Normative Fiction-Making Manuel García-Carpintero

    6 The Experience of Fiction Eileen John 

    7 Literary Fiction and Imagination Magdalena Balcerak Jackson and Julia Langkau

    8 The Gift of the Lyric Anna Ribeiro

    9 Keeping it Simple: Fiction, Imagination, and the Emotions Fiora Salis 

    III. Imagination and the Cognitive Role of Fiction

    10 More than Make-Believe: On the Uses of Imagination in Experiencing Fictional

    Artworks María José Alcaraz León

    11 Empathy, Sensibility, and the Novelist’s Imagination Olivia Bailey

    12 Conspiracy Theories as Walt-Fiction Anna Ichino

    13 Fiction and the Cultivation of Imagination Amy Kind


    Patrik Engisch is SNF Post-Doctoral Researcher at the University of Geneva. He works in the philosophy of mind, aesthetics, and the philosophy of food. He is the co-editor of A Philosophy of Recipes: Making, Experiencing, and Valuing (Bloomsbury, 2022).

    Julia Langkau is Assistant Professor at the University of Geneva. Her main research areas are the philosophy of mind, epistemology, and aesthetics. She is working on a project titled Creativity, Imagination and Tradition, funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF PRIMA grant).