Philosophy

Discussion

The Essential Anna

Colin Radforda1

a1 University of Kent at Canterbury

Having distinguished essentially fictional characters from inessentially fictional ones (a distinction I shall examine later) and having identified Anna Karenina as an inessentially fictional character, Barrie Paskins solves the problem I posed in ‘How Can We Be Moved by the Fate of Anna Karenina?’ thus: ‘our pity towards the inessentially fictional is, or can without forcing be construed as, pity for those people if any who are in the same bind as the character in the fiction’. Making a similar point in a footnote, ‘our emotions towards fictional characters are directed towards those real people, if any, who are in essentially the same situation’, he continues in the text, ‘This possibility is neglected by Radford and Weston.’