Can We Experience Genuine Emotions In Response To Imagined Situations?

1211 words - 5 pages

It is important to define what we mean by imagined situations. In the course of this essay we will commonly refer to them as events contained within fiction but they can be found as an extention, or alternative to real life problems we face as well. Fiction can be, and has been used as a reference points for the majority of imagined situations in this essay.D. Maltravers often refers to works of fiction as events which we imagine to be a report of real life events in his so-called "Report Model". This is effectively fiction reported as fact. A storyteller can relate his story on a variety of platforms but he believes that when reading a novel or watching a film the situation we are reading is sufficiently similar to the situation of reading a report of actual events. So it is natural for us to imagine that the novel is simply a report of actual events. The actual experience of the reader is to therefore be sitting in his chair and reading sentences in a book of watching a film. It is a prepositional attitude of imagining towards content of a fictional situation. The reader or viewer will contruct a game of 'make-believe' based on what is explicitly said and what he is assumed to believe. For instance, in Gulliver's Travels, the author mandates the reader to make-believe he is reading a journal written by Gulliver and he in fact led the adventures he had in the book. What is essential is that the game of make-believe must be compatible with what the real world is causing the reader to experience.If the report model is the true way in which we experience events of fiction then no real emotions can possibly follow. This is because we have no perceptual experience of our imagined events. We have a sort of arms length stance to what we read because we are imagining that we are receiving a report of real events (say on the news) to which the nature of interactions we have with an event is distanced by the fact we are sitting in our living room watching the television. Maltravers says that if our experience of imagined events was perceptual then physical participation would seem possible when it is clearly not. It is fictional that the Duchess of Malfi (John Webster) has a brother Ferdinand, so it is fictional she is in danger of her life from him and it is therefore fictional that the reader can help her, so it is fictional that he does help her. Walton remarks that psychological participation tends to outrun physical participation. So despite the fact that it is impossible for him to help the Duchess I he is still disposed to make claims such as "I feel sorry for her". This sort of emotion is commonly called a q-emotion or 'quasi' emotion. Normally, in order to have an emotion it is a pre-requisite that you have a belief (in conjunction with a desire). I feel angry that someone stole my wallet only because I have the belief that it had been stolen, and the desire to still have it. Q-emotions however, do not involve beliefs. They are formed from...

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