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FICTIE, ZELFBEDROG, CONTEMPLATIE

A. Burms
Tijdschrift voor Filosofie
52ste Jaarg., Nr. 1 (MAART 1990), pp. 3-16
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40886134
Page Count: 14
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
FICTIE, ZELFBEDROG, CONTEMPLATIE
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Abstract

How can it be explained that we are able to be captivated by fictions and to sympathize with characters about whom we know that they are merely the figments of someone's imagination ? In the current debate about this question it is often taken for granted that the interest in fiction is a peculiar deviation from something which is to be considered as perfectly rational and normal, viz. our interest in what really happened. In this article, however, I try to describe a perspective from which our interest in what really happened turns out to be as paradoxical and peculiar as our interest in fiction. According to a second presupposition — which is often taken for granted in the current discussion — the desires and emotions, evoked by fictions, would be some kind of pretending. At first sight our interest in fiction is strikingly similar to daydreams and other forms of mild self-deception. But this similarity is misleading : some fictions are great works of art and it would be contradictory to suppose that the response to their artistic value should be rooted in a lack of lucidity. A genuine aesthetic experience is contemplative and contemplation is to be considered as lucidity — as ‘concentration without elimination’. In the final part of the article I try to explain how the interest in artistic fictions can be related to the traditional ideal of contemplation.

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