The Concept of Involvement and the Paradox of Fiction

Paolo Spinicci


I will divide my paper into two parts. First of all, I will discuss, three tentative solutions of the paradox of fiction which are, in my opinion, untenable. In arguing against these theories a special weight will be given to a single question: why and how is it possible to calm someone by repeating that what they are reading or looking at is a fiction? In the second part, I will suggest a realistic and anti-judgmentalist solution of the paradox. It rests on what I believe to be general features of imagination, but it also implies an understanding of the primary relation of involvement – a relation which somehow echoes Heidegger’s notion of Befindlichkeit. A concluding remark is devoted to the origin of the paradox: in my opinion it is not only an aftermath of a cognitive theory of emotion, but it is also a clue of a mistaken behavior toward fiction


Imagination; emotion; Theory of Fiction

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