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Colin Radford Paradox of Fiction

Uploaded by drinksbeer on Jan 04, 2005

Colin Radford, an English philosopher, published a paper in 1975 in which he outlined his “Paradox of Fiction.” A paradox is an instance where two or more statements that are by themselves true, contradict each other. Radford’s paradox is based on three premises which he claim to all be true. The first is that for one to have an emotional response to a story one must believe that that story actually exists or has existed. The second premise is that such beliefs are often lacking when we read stories, and the third is that we clearly have emotional responses to works of fiction. Because these premises contradict each other Radford came to the conclusion that emotional responses to fictional characters and events are “irrational, incoherent, and inconsistent.” Due to the fact that this appears to be a valid conclusion if the premises are true philosophers have questioned the premises the conclusion is based upon. The conclusion is in correct not because the logic is wrong but because they premises are incorrect. Emotions are unexplained and therefore it is impossible to In separate attacks against each of the premises philosophers have used logic to show how all of the premises could be untrue, therefore proving the paradox nonexistent and the conclusion invalid.

Emotions aren’t understood. They are a product of our brain, something we fail to completely understand the operations of. Emotions are one of the most complex and enigmatic products of the brain. As a result of our lack of understanding of why we have certain emotions in certain situations there is no way of proving that we can only feel emotions to events we think are real. Because there is no proof either way philosophers can only attempt to find the most logical answer to this problem. Many, including R.T. Allen who wrote, “A novel…is not a presentation of facts. But true statements can be made about what happens in it and beliefs directed towards those events can be true or false. …Once we realize that truth is not confined to the factual, the problem disappears,” is an advocate of this position. I know from my own experience that I often have stronger emotional responses to characters in movies and books that I know are fake than to people I see on the evening news.

The emotions we experience in response to fictional stories aren’t the same type of emotions that...

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Uploaded by:   drinksbeer

Date:   01/04/2005

Category:   Philosophy

Length:   3 pages (725 words)

Views:   8203

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