VIII—Fiction as a Genre


  • Meeting of the Aristotelian Society held at Senate House, University of London, on 6 February 2012 at 4:15 p.m.


Standard theories define fiction in terms of an invited response of imagining or make-believe. I argue that these theories are not only subject to numerous counterexamples, they also fail to explain why classification matters to our understanding and evaluation of works of fiction as well as non-fiction. I propose instead that we construe fiction and non-fiction as genres: categories whose membership is determined by a cluster of non-essential criteria, and which play a role in the appreciation of particular works. I claim that this proposal captures the intuitions motivating alternative theories of fiction.