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Intuition, Imagination, and Philosophical Methodology$
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Tamar Szabó Gendler

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199589760

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199589760.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 06 December 2021

Genuine Rational Fictional Emotions

Genuine Rational Fictional Emotions

(p.227) 11 Genuine Rational Fictional Emotions
Intuition, Imagination, and Philosophical Methodology

Tamar Szabó Gendler (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter offers an account of the paradox of fictional emotions: the puzzle of why we seem to feel genuine emotions in response to descriptions of characters that we know to be fictional. It draws on neuroscientific work by Antonio Damasio showing that patients with damage to the ventromedial prefrontal cortex typically show a pair of deficits: they lack autonomic (but not cognitive) responses to emotionally disturbing images, and they reveal a marked tendency to engage in high‐risk behavior despite describing themselves as fully aware of its inadvisability. This suggests that subjects who lack somatized emotional responses to imagined courses of action are unable to translate knowledge of their advantages and disadvantages into action‐guiding behavior, which in turn suggests that the capacity to respond emotionally to merely imagined situations is central to practical reasoning. This means that in a well‐functioning mind, even when content is explicitly and consciously represented as imaginary or hypothetical, a vivid emotional response is to be expected.

Keywords:   paradox of fictional emotions, Antonio Damasio, somatically encoded response, emotion, imagination, neuroscience

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