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Moving PicturesA New Theory of Film Genres, Feelings, and Cognition$
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Torben Grodal

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780198159834

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198159834.001.0001

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Fiction, Symbolic Simulation, and Reality

Fiction, Symbolic Simulation, and Reality

(p.19) I Fiction, Symbolic Simulation, and Reality
Moving Pictures

Torben Grodal

Oxford University Press

A recurrent problem in aesthetics and theories of fiction and representation in art (whether literature, art, or film) is the status and validity of representation itself. Are representations true or false? Are fictions lies? Are images illusionistic in a pejorative sense if they try to convey a three-dimensional effect on a two-dimensional screen or canvas? What are the relations between metaphors and literal meaning? Are films just imaginary signifiers, as argued by Metz? This chapter shows that many of these intricate problems are easy to understand in the context of our mental makeup. It deals, in particular, with the ecological conventions moulding our visual experience. It discusses the way in which fiction is symbolic simulation, and the way in which evaluations of the reality-status of given phenomena are often represented as emotional tones.

Keywords:   formalism, realism, fiction, artistic representation, visual experience, symbolic simulation

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