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Virtual Subjects, Fugitive SelvesFernando Pessoa and his philosophy$
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Jonardon Ganeri

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780198864684

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198864684.001.0001

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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: 31 July 2021

The Reality of Subjects

The Reality of Subjects

(p.99) 14 The Reality of Subjects
Virtual Subjects, Fugitive Selves

Jonardon Ganeri

Oxford University Press

Pessoa often expresses hesitation in his ability to tell what is more real and what is less, the actual or the virtual, veridical experience or dream, fact or fiction. At other times Pessoa offers something like a criterion to distinguish the imaginary from the empirical. Imagined entities are ‘one-sided’ in a manner actual entities are not. Pessoa’s view seems to be that subjects of experience are grounded (and therefore are not Cartesian souls), and that the grounding of both actual and virtual subjects is the same. The intuitive view that unsimulated subjects ground simulated ones, that Shakespeare is ‘more real’ than Hamlet, is regarded as deeply suspicious if not rejected outright. What we need is a way to make sense of the idea that subjects of experience which are simulated in imagination are no ‘less real’ than the subjects of experience in everyday life. There have, indeed, been studies which suggest that there is a functional equivalence in the two cases, such as Tamar Gendler’s studies of imaginative contagion.

Keywords:   reality, imagination, imaginative contagion, Tamar Gendler, shadows, grounding

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