«Paradox of Fiction and Negative Emotions» - Great Essay Sample

«Paradox of Fiction and Negative Emotions»

Part I: The Paradox of Fiction

1. Three claims comprising ‘descriptive’ version of the problem are care, belief, and caring requires belief.

2. Paradox of fiction is based on the opinion that most of people have genuine emotional responses to the facts, events, or characters, which are fictional. For example, viewers feel fear and disgust while watching horror movies, but they know that it is truly fictional. Although their responses may be genuine because they can believe that the movie is real. So, the main concept of this paradox is how we can rationally respond to fictional characters or events knowing that they are imaginary, while believing that fiction can be true at the same time.

3. Radford denies caring claim basing on the fact that people do not really care about fiction and their responses are not genuine. He emphasizes human inability to truly compassionate fiction characters and states that caring claim will be true only if circumstances are also decidedly true.

4. Gendler and Kovakovich deny the third claim – caring requires belief. They say that having rational and genuine emotions can be caused without truly believing in fact’s authenticity.

5. The three claims, which comprise the ‘normative’ version of the problem are the response condition, believe condition, and coordination condition.

6. Radford had six solutions to this problem and mainly he denies the response condition. He claims that believing in purely fictional fact cannot lead to same consequences as the real ones. For example, he used Romeo and Juliet’s character Mercutio, who is going to die. Mercutio is a fictional character, so no one will try to save him on a stage of a theater. But what if the actor will die for real on a stage? Emotions caused by these two examples cannot be the same.

7. Gendler and Kovakovich deny coordination condition with such a thought, “What we contend is that, in keeping with the response condition, the pity that we feel for Anna is both genuine and rational, even though, in keeping with the belief condition, we believe Anna to be a purely fictional character”(p. 246).

8. Denying the caring claim requires believing in some fictional facts and that it cannot be purely fictional. So, knowing something ‘moving’ about fictional or real fact does not affect your genuine emotions. For example, while watching a movie based on a real story you see a car accident. It is not certain if it was for real or it is just an author’s plot twist. But for real you cannot feel genuine emotions because you were not in that car and seeing it on a screen will not ‘move’ you.

9. If belief claim will be denied then every fictional fact will respond with genuine emotions because of the assured perception that fictional fact is really a truth. For example, while reading a pop-journal, some persons read about ten easiest tips how to lose weight. Subconsciously the person believes that he or she reads the truth because he/she totally trusts this source of information without thinking if it may be fictional. This person gets excited because he/she found what he/she wanted. In other words, “ignorance is bliss”.

10. Denying the caring requires belief claim involves having genuine emotional responses to the fact even knowing that it is fictional. Example, while reading a fantasy book, every adult person understands that it is fictional. But nevertheless the use of imagination gives us the opportunity to dive deep into the plot and relive the story from within while having exciting emotional experience.

Part II: The Paradox of Negative Emotions

11. The three claims which comprise the motivational version of the problem are avoiding claim, response claim, and pursuit claim.

12. People usually avoid negative emotions in their real life but may have them in response to some painful art. Also they start to pursue this painful experience to relive it again. So, the main problem of motivation and difference questions is why people are looking for negative and painful experience. But difference question is focused on the person’s will to experience negative emotions in artworks instead of real life.

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13. The three claims which comprise the enjoyment version of the problemare the following:

a. People have negative/painful experiences in response to putatively painful artworks.

b. Negative/painful experiences are not enjoyable/pleasurable.

c. People find putatively painful artwork enjoyable/ pleasurable.

14. Problem of these three claims is based on the enjoyment question, which is, “how can people enjoy negative or painful experiences if they are not enjoyable?”

15. Caroll states, “the pleasure derived from horror comes from the fascination it instills. That fascination, ultimately, focuses on the anomaly of the monstrous being, who, being impossible, is an apposite object of curiosity” (1995). Gaut maintains that people can enjoy being horrified in atypical situations, or if they are atypical people. So, there is no real paradox of horror in his concept. As for me, reasons that are granting enjoyment can be very different but enjoying negative and terrifying emotions is purposed only by the person’s will to discover new experience based on the fictional representation of possible painful consequences to be somehow ready for them in real life. Also, there may be another explanation, which is based on adrenaline rush from being scared and surprised that people usually feel watching a horror movie. But, anyway, people do not really enjoy what they see but get excited to watch other person being terrified.



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