Poetic License: Learning Morality from Fiction in light of Imaginative Resistance

Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy 35 (3):165-183 (2016)
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Imaginative resistance (IR) is rejecting a claim that is true within a fictional world. Accounts that describe IR hold that readers exit a fiction at points of resistance. But if resistance entails exiting a fiction, then learning morality from fiction doesn’t occur. But moral learning from fiction does occur; some such cases are instances of accepting a norm one first denied. I amend current solutions to IR with poetic license. The more poetic license granted a work, the more flexible one is regarding perceived falsehoods. Instead of exiting the fiction, one has the chance to stay engaged and possibly learn norms she previously denied.

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John W. Rosenbaum
Baylor University


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