Do we weep for Cordelia?

  • Elisa Galgut Department of Philosophy University of Cape Town Private Bag Rondebosch 7701


\'It is ... exactly because Hecuba is nothing to us that her sorrows are so suitable a motive for a tragedy.\' Oscar Wilde Much of the contemporary debate concerning the nature and role of fictive emotions has argued that we do feel garden-variety emotions for fictional characters; the puzzle has been to account for this, given our knowledge of their fictional status. In this paper I argue that many of the emotional responses we have towards fictional characters are nothing like the emotions we feel in ordinary life. The implications for our engagement with literary fictions are subsequently examined. S. Afr. J. Philos. Vol.22(3) 2003: 267–275

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