Call for Papers – Rivista di Estetica (1/2026)

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Date(s): 01. April
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Call for Papers – Rivista di Estetica (1/2026)

Guest editors: Giulio Sacco (University of Turin), Iris Vidmar Jovanović (University of Rijeka), Marco Viola (Roma 3 University)


Emotions and Fiction: Philosophical and Psychological Puzzles


Feeling emotions for fiction is a common experience. However, it raises a number of questions which, since the 1970s, have been at the center of the debate in the analytic philosophy of art. Why do events that we know to be fictitious elicit emotional reactions in us? Are they genuine emotions, i.e., analogous to the ones of our daily life, or do they have different features? Is it rational to feel emotions towards fiction? And why do we seek for fictions capable of eliciting emotions that we try to avoid in real life, such as fear, grief, etc.?

These issues, addressed by philosophers since antiquity, are defined as paradoxes: “paradox of fiction”, “paradox of horror”, “paradox of tragedy”, etc. Contemporary philosophers of art have confronted such paradoxes – which we could label as puzzles of emotions in fiction – by raising questions about the status of fictional entities which elicit emotions, the nature of emotions for fiction and their value in our daily life.

This Special Issue of Rivista di Estetica aims to analyze the importance of these paradoxes (or puzzles) for our understanding of the emotions, both from a philosophical and psychological perspective. What the paradoxes of emotions for fiction tell us about the rationality (or irrationality) of affective states? Are they related, and if so how, to the so-called “recalcitrant emotions” (i.e., the emotions that contradict one’s better judgments)? How can pleasant and unpleasant emotions coexist in our appreciation of fiction, and what is the link between pleasure and pain in our affective life? Are emotions universal or cultural-dependent?

We encourage authors from different fields (philosophy and psychology of emotion, philosophy of art, theoretical philosophy, moral philosophy, etc.) to submit their contributions on the following and related topics:

  • What is the nature of emotions for fictional characters and events?
  • Is there a difference between these emotions and those we experience in real life?
  • Why do we seek for unpleasant emotions in fiction?
  • Do these experiences provide us with valuable insights for developing our philosophical and psychological theories of emotion?
  • Is it still important (and, if so, why) to reflect on the paradoxes of emotions in fiction?
  • How should we account for the emotions of sympathy towards anti-heroes?
  • What are the mechanism that fiction has at its disposal to arouse and manipulate spectators’ emotions?
  • What is the link between imagination and fiction?
  • Can our emotions for fiction contribute to one’s self-knowledge?


Confirmed Invited Authors

  • Alfred Archer (Tilburg University)
  • Pia Campeggiani (University of Bologna)
  • Stacie Friend (University of Edinburgh) & Alex Grzankowski (Birkbeck College, University of London)
  • Derek Matravers (The Open University)
  • Andrea Scarantino (Georgia State University)
  • Matthew Strohl (University of Montana)
  • Fabrice Teroni (University of Geneva)


Deadline for manuscript submission: April 1,st 2025

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Articles must be written in English, and should not exceed 40,000 characters (not words!), notes and blank spaces included.

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