The Puzzle of Multiple Endings

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Abstract
Why is it that most fictions present one and only one ending, rather than multiple ones? Fictions presenting multiple endings are possible, because a few exist; but they are very rare, and this calls for an explanation. We argue that such an explanation is likely to shed light on our engagement with fictions, for fictions having one and only one ending seem to be ubiquitous. After dismissing the most obvious explanations for this phenomenon, we compare the scarcity of multiple endings in traditional kinds of fiction to their profusion in the case of interactive fictions. This contrast poses a challenge to accounts of our engagement with fictions in terms of games of make-believe. We conclude that solving this puzzle is likely to improve our philosophical understanding of fictions
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Archival date: 2016-09-06
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