Abstract: I argue that there is no interpretation of imagining or make-believe that designates a response distinctive to fiction as opposed to nonfiction. The class of works that invite makebelieve, however it is determined, is substantially broader than our ordinary concept of fiction would allow. The question is whether there is a way of understanding the sort of imagining involved in our engagement with fictions that would carve out a narrower category. I consider various possible interpretations and argue in each case that works of nonfiction may invite the same imaginative responses as fiction, just as works of fiction may invite the same cognitive responses as nonfiction. These considerations cast doubt on definitions of fiction that appeal to make-believe, and the attempt to save the theory by restricting it to individual statements rather than whole works is unsatisfactory. A different approach to classification is required if we wish to understand the significance of the distinction.
Comment: This text would be good as further reading for students who are interested in writing a coursework essay on the topic. It is suitable in a philosophy of fiction module.