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2020 | 27 | 1 | 82 – 105

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Stacie Friend’s theory of fiction departs from those approaches that seek to identify the necessary and sufficient conditions for a work to count as fiction. She argues that this goal cannot really be achieved; instead, she appeals to the notion of genre to distinguish between fiction and nonfiction. This notion is significantly more flexible, since it invites us to identify standard—but not necessary—and counter-standard features of works of fiction in light of our classificatory practices. More specifically, Friend argues that the genre of fiction has the genre of nonfiction—and only that genre—as its contrast class. I will refer to the particular way in which Friend elaborates this claim as the contrast view. I have, nevertheless, the impression that this view unnecessarily narrows down the array of perspectives and attitudes from which we can approach works of fiction. I will thus develop a line of reasoning to the effect that the contrast view should rather be construed as picking out a particular way of relating to works of fiction that lies at the end of a continuum defined by different degrees of reflectivity and estrangement. This implies that the contrast view is false as a general claim about how we experience works of fiction, even though this view may appropriately depict a specific way of approaching such works.


  • Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Philosophy and Educational Sciences, University of Valencia, Avda. Blasco Ibañez 30, 46010-Valencia, Spain


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