Only Imagine: Fiction, Interpretation and Imagination

ISBN : 9780198849766

Kathleen Stock
240 Pages
156 x 234 mm
Pub date
Sep 2019
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Only Imagine offers a theory of fictional content or, as it is sometimes known, 'fictional truth'.
The theory of fictional content Kathleen Stock argues for is known as 'extreme intentionalism'; the idea that the fictional content of a particular work is equivalent to exactly what the author of the work intended the reader to imagine. Historically, this sort of view has been highly unpopular. Literary theorists and philosophers alike have poured scorn upon it. The first half of this book attempts to argue that it should in fact be taken very seriously as an adequate account of fictional truth: better, in fact, than many of its more popular rivals. The second half explores various explanatory benefits of extreme intentionalism for other issues in the philosophy of fiction and imagination. Namely, can fiction give us reliable knowledge? Why do we 'resist' imagining certain fictions? What, in fact, is a fiction? And, how should the imagination be characterised?


1 Extreme intentionalism about fictional content
2 Intentionalist strategies of interpretation
3 Extreme intentionalism and its rivals
4 Fiction, belief, and 'imaginative resistance'
5 The nature of fiction
6 Back to the imagination

About the author: 

Kathleen Stock was educated at Oxford University and did graduate work at St. Andrews and Leeds. After working at Lancaster and U.E.A. she took up the position of Reader at the University of Sussex, where she has been since 2013. Stock works primarily in the philosophy of fiction, art, and imagination, with occasional forays into research on sexual objectification.

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