The Genuine Attitude View of Fictional Belief

Wesley Buckwalter, Katherine Tullmann

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The distinct-attitude view of fictional narratives is a standard position in contemporary aesthetics. This is the view that cognitive attitudes formed in response to fictions are a distinct kind of mental state from beliefs formed in response to non-fictional scenarios, such as pretend or imaginary states. This chapter argues that the balance of functional, behavioral, and neuroscientific evidence best supports the genuine-attitude view of belief. According to the genuine-attitude view, cognitive responses to fictions are genuine beliefs that are not a distinct kind of mental state from the beliefs that we form in response to non-fictional scenarios. The chapter considers the implications of the genuine-attitude view for debates at the intersection of epistemology, cognitive science, and philosophy of mind.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationArt and Belief
EditorsEma Sullivan-Bissett, Helen Bradley, Paul Noordhof
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages21
ISBN (Print)9780198805403
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2017


  • belief
  • fiction
  • imagination
  • functional role
  • motivation
  • attitudes


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