Skip to main content
placeholder image

Just faking it? Pretend theory meets sexual fantasising

Chapter


Abstract


  • Kendall Walton ( 1990) proposed an influential, general theory of how we psychologically

    respond to fictions. According to Walton's theory, those psychological engagements

    are of a special variety because they always, only occur within contexts

    of pretence. Thus by Walton's lights, our enjoyment of works of representational art

    share a fundamental feature with children's games - the artworks serve as props in

    more sophisticated, adult games of make-believe. In playing such games we adopt

    attitudes of make-believe, not that of genuine belief. Our framing epistemic attitude

    in fictive contexts is, at best, only belief-like. Walton delivers a similar verdict with

    respect to other psychological attitudes, including our seeming emotional responses.

    For him, when engaging with fictions we only ever pretend to experience fear,

    lust, or anger. When playing games of make-believe - consuming fictional films

    and novels - we do not really experience the appropriate emotions demanded of us

    by the works, rather we only ever adopt phenomenologically similar, emotion-like

    states of mind- states which Walton dubs quasi-emotions.

    The upshot is that Walton's theory- known as pretend theory- incorporates a

    quite general vision of psychology of participating in and with fictions. It makes

    strong claims about the sorts of attitudes that come into play in such games.

    Importantly, although pretend theory accepts that we can be viscerally moved by

    fictions - physiologically and phenomenologically - it holds that those ways of

    being moved are at best akin to, but do not constitute, the having of relevant beliefs

    and emotions. Technically, in fictive contexts we only ever experience quasiemotions

    that are interestingly similar to the emotions they allow us to pretend

    to be experiencing. Quasi -emotions and real emotions are easily confused precisely

    because the former are phenomenologically charged states of mind with

    felt features that mimic features of the emotions that particular fictions seemingly

    ask us to experience. Unsurprisingly, this makes it hard to distinguish these

    two types of attitudes from one another.

Publication Date


  • 2015

Citation


  • Hutto, D. D. (2015). Just faking it? Pretend theory meets sexual fantasising. In M. Larsson & S. Johnsdotter (Eds.), Sexual Fantasies: at the Convergence of the Cultural and the Individual (pp. 179-204). Frankfurt: Peter Lang.

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-84967166943

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/lhapapers/2363

Book Title


  • Sexual Fantasies: at the Convergence of the Cultural and the Individual

Start Page


  • 179

End Page


  • 204

Abstract


  • Kendall Walton ( 1990) proposed an influential, general theory of how we psychologically

    respond to fictions. According to Walton's theory, those psychological engagements

    are of a special variety because they always, only occur within contexts

    of pretence. Thus by Walton's lights, our enjoyment of works of representational art

    share a fundamental feature with children's games - the artworks serve as props in

    more sophisticated, adult games of make-believe. In playing such games we adopt

    attitudes of make-believe, not that of genuine belief. Our framing epistemic attitude

    in fictive contexts is, at best, only belief-like. Walton delivers a similar verdict with

    respect to other psychological attitudes, including our seeming emotional responses.

    For him, when engaging with fictions we only ever pretend to experience fear,

    lust, or anger. When playing games of make-believe - consuming fictional films

    and novels - we do not really experience the appropriate emotions demanded of us

    by the works, rather we only ever adopt phenomenologically similar, emotion-like

    states of mind- states which Walton dubs quasi-emotions.

    The upshot is that Walton's theory- known as pretend theory- incorporates a

    quite general vision of psychology of participating in and with fictions. It makes

    strong claims about the sorts of attitudes that come into play in such games.

    Importantly, although pretend theory accepts that we can be viscerally moved by

    fictions - physiologically and phenomenologically - it holds that those ways of

    being moved are at best akin to, but do not constitute, the having of relevant beliefs

    and emotions. Technically, in fictive contexts we only ever experience quasiemotions

    that are interestingly similar to the emotions they allow us to pretend

    to be experiencing. Quasi -emotions and real emotions are easily confused precisely

    because the former are phenomenologically charged states of mind with

    felt features that mimic features of the emotions that particular fictions seemingly

    ask us to experience. Unsurprisingly, this makes it hard to distinguish these

    two types of attitudes from one another.

Publication Date


  • 2015

Citation


  • Hutto, D. D. (2015). Just faking it? Pretend theory meets sexual fantasising. In M. Larsson & S. Johnsdotter (Eds.), Sexual Fantasies: at the Convergence of the Cultural and the Individual (pp. 179-204). Frankfurt: Peter Lang.

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-84967166943

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/lhapapers/2363

Book Title


  • Sexual Fantasies: at the Convergence of the Cultural and the Individual

Start Page


  • 179

End Page


  • 204