An emotion regulation account of the paradox of fiction

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Abstract
The paradox of fiction tackles how we can be considered as rational while having emotions towards fictional and thus non-existing events. I aim to show that the different philosophical positions on this issue can be reconciled within the emotion regulation framework. This approach refines the concept of emotion, defining it as a sequence of distinct regulated processes. I argue that the philosophical solutions that have been proposed to solve the paradox can be framed as different regulation mechanisms occuring at each stage of the emotion sequence. Based on these results, I propose an original and unifying solution to the paradox of fiction which relies on the notion of quasi-belief. On one hand, this solution solves the paradox of fiction through rejecting each proposition of the paradox at different stages of the emotion process. On the other hand, it explains through the notion of rational appraisal why the question of the existence of emotions towards fictional events is bound to the question of their rationality. The functional roles of emotion towards fictional events are thus discussed, showing how rationality shapes emotions towards fictional events.
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Archival date: 2020-04-29
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