Recent theorists suggest that our capacity to respond affectively to fictions depends on our ability to engage in simulation: either simulating a character in the fiction, or simulating someone reading or watching the fiction as though it were fact. We argue that such accounts are quite successful at accounting for many of the basic explananda of our affective engagements in fiction. Nonetheless, we argue further that simulationist accounts ultimately fail, for simulation involves an ineliminably egocentred element that is atypical of our experience of fiction. We then draw on recent work in philosophical psychology to articulate a more psychologically plausible account of our emotional engagement with fiction.
ASJC Scopus subject areas