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The Architecture of the ImaginationNew Essays on Pretence, Possibility, and Fiction$
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Shaun Nichols

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199275731

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199275731.001.0001

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The Intuitive Cosmology of Fictional Worlds

The Intuitive Cosmology of Fictional Worlds

Chapter:
(p.73) 5 The Intuitive Cosmology of Fictional Worlds
Source:
The Architecture of the Imagination
Author(s):

Deena Skolnick

Paul Bloom

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199275731.003.0005

Young children and adults understand the difference between reality and fiction. But recent work in developmental psychology has found that this is not the only distinction that children and adults make: members of both age groups also consider different fictional worlds to be metaphysically separate from each other. This surprising finding reveals that both adults and children impose a much more nuanced structure onto the stories they hear than previously thought. This chapter explores the origins of this structure, arguing that it is the result of how adults and children create and conceptualize the fictional worlds they encounter. Because each fictional world is based on the real world, the entities and relationships that hold in the real world will also tend to hold in any given fictional world. Objections and extensions to this theory are considered.

Keywords:   fiction, development, psychology, cognition, imagination, fictional world, metaphysics

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