Kendall Walton is a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Michigan and Wm H. Bonsall Visiting Professor at the University of Stanford. His website can be found here

How to Think about Fiction (and how not to) 

Wednesday 23rd September 2015 | 1600-1800 Senate House, Room 234


There have been three unfortunate tendencies in recent philosophical accounts of fiction: theorists overemphasize the notion of works of fiction and the distinction between fiction and nonfiction, they usually focus nearly exclusivly on literary fictions, and often assume from the start that fiction is fundamentally a matter of communication.  By emphasizing the notion of fictionality, truth-in-fiction, rather than that of works of fiction, attending seriously to pictorial and other non-literary fictions, and understanding communication to be merely a very important use to which fictions are put, we can construct a broader and more illuminating theory with resources to differentiate its various species, one that brings out what is most important about the institution of fiction.