Postgraduate Course: The Philosophy of Fiction MSc (PHIL11148)
|School||School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences
||College||College of Humanities and Social Science
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
||Availability||Not available to visiting students
|Summary||This course will introduce and examine a number of philosophical issues raised by fiction.
Shared with undergraduate course The Philosophy of Fiction PHIL10153.
For courses co-taught with undergraduate students and with no remaining undergraduate spaces left, a maximum of 8 MSc students can join the course. Priority will be given to MSc students who wish to take the course for credit on a first come first served basis after matriculation.
The course will aim to cover topics at the intersection of aesthetics and epistemology, metaphysics, and the philosophies of language and mind: the nature of fiction; whether fictional characters exist and if so, what they are; whether we can gain real-world knowledge from engaging with fiction; the problem of "imaginative resistance" (why we cannot 'suspend disbelief' on things like principles of morality when engaging with fiction); and the "paradox of fiction" (how can we, for example, fear Darth Vader when we don't believe he's real), and whether we need a new psychological state (a 'alief' in Gendler's terminology) to solve it.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
||Other requirements|| None
Course Delivery Information
|Not being delivered|
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- demonstrate core skills in philosophy, including interpreting and critically engaging with philosophical texts, evaluating arguments and theories, and developing one's own ideas in response to the issues discussed.
- acquire knowledge of the main theories of the nature of fiction and the nature of fictional characters and the main responses to the paradox of fiction and the puzzle of imaginative resistance.
- analyze the strengths and weakness of these theories and responses.
|Textbook: Sainsbury, R.M. Fiction and Fictionalism. Routledge. The class would cover the first five chapters of this book, with the other readings being drawn from the following list:|
Friend, Stacie. 2007. Fictional Characters. Philosophy Compass 2: 141-56.
Friend, Stacie. 2011. Fiction as a Genre. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society Supplementary Vol. 112: 163-80.
Friend, Stacie. 2014. Believing in Stories. In Greg Currie, Matthew Kieran, Aaron Meskin, and Jon Robson, eds. Aesthetics and the Sciences of the Mind. Oxford University Press.
Gendler, Tamar Szabo. 2000. The Puzzle of Imaginative Resistance. Reprinted in Gendler. 2010. Intuition, Imagination, and Philosophical Methodology. Oxford University Press.]
Gendler, Tamar Szabo. 2006. Imaginative Resistance Revisited. Reprinted in Gendler. 2010. Intuition, Imagination, and Philosophical Methodology. Oxford University Press.
Gendler, Tamar Szabo and Kovakovich, Karson. 2005. Genuine Rational Fictional Emotions. Reprinted in Gendler. 2010. Intuition, Imagination, and Philosophical Methodology. Oxford University Press.
Gendler, Tamar Szabo. 2008. Alief and Belief. Reprinted in Gendler. 2010. Intuition, Imagination, and Philosophical Methodology. Oxford University Press.
Gendler, Tamar Szabo. 2008. Alief in Action (and Reaction). Reprinted in Gendler. 2010. Intuition, Imagination, and Philosophical Methodology. Oxford University Press.
Kripke, Saul. 2013. Reference and Existence. Oxford University Press.
Lewis, David. 1978. Truth in Fiction. American Philosophical Quarterly 15: 37-46.
Radford, Colin. 1975. How Can We Be Moved by the Fate of Anna Karenina? Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 69: 67-80.
Stock, Kathleen. 2005. Resisting Imaginative Resistance. Philosophical Quarterly 55: 607-24.
Stock, Kathleen. 2011. Fictive Utterance and Imagining. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society Supplementary Vol. 112: 145-61.
Thomasson, Amie. 1999. Fiction and Metaphysics. Cambridge University Press.
van Inwagen, Peter. 1977. Creatures of Fiction. American Philosophical Quarterly 14: 299-308.
Waldon, Kendall. 1990. Mimesis as Make-Believe. Harvard University Press.
Weatherson, Brian. 2004. Morality, Fiction, and Possibility. Philosophers' Imprint 4: 1-27.
Advanced reading list available on Learn.
||Please see Learn
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
||Writing skills, interpreting texts, evaluating arguments and theories
|Additional Class Delivery Information
||The course will be taught by Dr Aidan McGlynn
|Keywords||fiction; imagination; names; characters
|Course organiser||Dr Aidan McGlynn
Tel: (0131 6)51 6333
|Course secretary||Ms Becky Verdon
Tel: (0131 6)51 5002