The first principle of the paradox states that “in order for us to be moved (to tears, to anger, to horror) by what we come to learn about various people and situations, we must believe that the people and situations in question really exist or existed,” (Schneider n.d.). In this instance, if the situation or individual is purely a figment of the imagination, it is nearly impossible to feel emotional towards the subject. People need to believe the character existed to harbor such feelings. Additionally, the second principle of the paradox states that “such ‘existence beliefs’ are lacking when we knowingly engage with fictional texts,” (Schneider n.d.). This claim seems to be a c...
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... a mechanism whereby existence beliefs are generated in the course of our engagement with works of fiction,” (Schneider n.d.). This theory is the least popular of the three, as the theory does not present a rational solution to the paradox of emotional response to fiction. These theorists claim that individuals possess partial beliefs, that is, they don’t completely have faith in the fictional situation at hand. Like several other theories, the illusion theory poses questionable arguments. For instance, this theory does not mesh properly with the consciousness of individuals. As Aaron Smuts stated, “if we really thought a monster was in front of us, we’d wet our pants or run in fear. But audiences do not flee the theatres in droves when a monster appears on the screen,” (Smuts n.d.). It does not seem possible that humans could be susceptible to views such as these.
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