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Imagining and KnowingThe Shape of Fiction$
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Gregory Currie

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780199656615

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199656615.001.0001

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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: 04 August 2021

Fiction, mentalizing, and planning

Fiction, mentalizing, and planning

Chapter:
(p.112) 7 Fiction, mentalizing, and planning
Source:
Imagining and Knowing
Author(s):

Gregory Currie

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780199656615.003.0008

Fiction has a remarkable degree of focus on the mind: the beliefs, desires, intentions, and feelings of its characters, and especially the ways their minds interact, understanding or misunderstanding one another, sharing feelings of intimacy, divided by conflicting desire, united in a common cause. This chapter focuses on the representation in fiction of the ways mental states interconnect and their consequences for action. Two works of ancient literature are picked out as puzzling in this regard: the Iliad and the Gilgamesh epic. It ends with a response to the idea that, on Darwinian grounds, fiction’s close connection to the imagination makes it likely that it is in some way a good source of knowledge. It is argued that there are a number of plausible accounts consistent with Darwinian ideas which are not supportive of the idea that fiction is a source of knowledge.

Keywords:   mentalizing, deception, the Iliad, Gilgamesh, Darwin, natural selection

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