Moral Responses to Fictional Characters

Frank Palmer

in Literature and Moral Understanding

Published in print September 1992 | ISBN: 9780198242321
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191680441 | DOI:
Moral Responses to Fictional Characters

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Fictional characters do not belong to the actual world. They do not join in interpersonal relationships; their actions and decisions no more aid or impair people's aims than people do theirs. With this, it becomes a question whether they lack the necessary condition of personhood, which basically involves responsibility for their actions, especially if they are just considered as mere constructions or servants to the artistic purpose of the author. Such question cannot be answered satisfactorily without considering the nature and importance of a person's interest in literature. In this chapter, several arguments are presented such as that of Colin Radford, who argues that people are intelligible and rational only in so far as they are connected with belief in the existence of their presumed objects.

Keywords: fictional characters; actual world; interpersonal relationships; decisions; personhood; responsibility; artistic purpose; existence; Colin Radford; Michael Weston

Chapter.  8328 words. 

Subjects: Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art

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