How We Can Be Moved by Anna Karenina, Green Slime, and a Red Pony

Glenn A. Hartz 


From Colin Radford we have inherited the ‘fiction paradox’: How can we be moved by creatures of fiction? Answers recently offered by aestheticians presuppose a false theory of emotion and are inconsistent with emotional phenomenology as well as facts about human evolution, physiology, and anatomy. I argue that Kendall Walton's ‘Charles’ can genuinely fear the slime and yet avow that he does not consider it dangerous—all without being irrational. The solutions offered by Morreall, Moran, Hyslop, Boruah, Lamarque, and Neill are rejected as inadequate. Knowledge of how we can be moved probably lies outside philosophy altogether—in cognitive neuroscience.