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Joel Rudinow REPRESENTATION, VOYEURISM, AND THE VACANT POINT OF VIEW In whatever way it is true that you are now reading these words, it is not true that, for example, Alice went through the looking glass. Yet in some way, we sometimes say, it is true that Alice went through the looking glass (and false that she went to Disneyland for a ride in the teacups). We could say, for a start, that it is literally true that you are now reading these words, and non-literally true that Alice went through the looking glass. I have never been through a looking glass, but I once went through a plate glass window. The window was in a shopping center and was not properly marked. And though I was not hurt, I was a bit upset, especially with the store manager who had the wonderful thickness to upbraid me for not watching where I was going. In fact, I was quite beside myself, though as with Alice non-literally so. But there seems to be some important difference between a non-literal truth like this one about me and a non-literal truth like the one about Alice. The difference has to do with what can coherently be hoped for in the way of a paraphrase of each. For (whether this wish is vain or not) it seems possible to hope for a paraphrase of the non-literal truth about me which would be literally true; but it also seems that the best we can expect in Alice's case is a paraphrase which, if the truth we began with about Alice were literally true, would be literally true also. Thus, for example, "Alice went through a mirror" would be a paraphrase of "Alice went through the looking glass," but it is non-literally true in just the same way as "Alice went through the looking glass." Nor does there seem to be any other paraphrastic candidate which would not also be similarly non-literally true. Thus, as far as paraphrase goes, certain non-literal truths seem to be absolutely and forever divorced from the literal, and others not. We could say that non-literal truths so divorced are fictionally true, and distinguish them so from figurative truths. 173 1 74Philosophy and Literature We may further distinguish two varieties of fictional truth, the imaginary and the make-believe, as follows: Imaginary truths are fictional truths which are true mainly in virtue of someone's (or some group's) having determined (imagined, agreed, dreamt, etc.) it to be true. Make-believe truths are fictional truths which are true mainly in virtue of some fact(s) of other than this sort. For example, in a certain game (or dream or fantasy) it may be true that we are kings and have been waiting for six weeks for a message from Mars, and all of this mainly in virtue of our having agreed (or one or another of us having dreamt or fantasized) that this was so and part of the game (or dream or fantasy). This would be an instance of imaginary truth. In another game it may be true that you have more (mud) pies than I do, and this mainly in virtue of the fact that there are more globs of mud of a certain size in front of you than in front of me. This would be an instance of make-believe truth. We can also distinguish in this connection between games of make-believe and games of imagination, and between make-believe and imaginary worlds, in terms of the preponderance and centrality of truths of one or the other sort in each. With the foregoing, we are provided with a way of characterizing the sense in which it is true that a girl named Alice went through the looking glass: in the sense in which in a game of make-believe it may be true that some pies are in the oven. It is make-believedly true that Alice went through a looking glass. I have just condensed a portion of the work of Kendall Walton.3 Of all recent philosophical writing on the concept of representation I have...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. 173-186
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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