Walton’s major contribution to philosophy is his theory of in his magnum opus Mimesis as Make -Believe. KENDALL L. WALTON. University of Michigan. Mimesis as Make-Believe is primarily an exploration of the workings of the representational arts, among which I. Mimesis as Make-Believe by Kendall Walton has already been heralded as the book A theory of representation, rather than a theory of art, Walton’s book.
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His book Mimesis as Make Believe: On the Foundations of the Representational Arts develops a theory of make-believe and uses it to understand the nature and varieties of representation in the arts. Walton studied as an undergraduate at the University of California, Berkeleyoriginally pursuing a major in music, having been a serious musician, probably headed towards music theory.
However, a philosophy course in his sophomore year convinced him to change his major, tentatively, from music to philosophy. Because of his background in music, Walton expected that he would have an interest in aesthetics and philosophy of art, but was unmoved by his contacts with these fields at Berkeley. A Study of Linguistic Relativity and Related Philosophical Problems’, with Sydney Shoemaker on philosophy of language, mind and metaphysics, and graduated in with a Ph.
After having been invited to teach a course on aesthetics that he was not fully prepared for having only had the one seminar with Sibleyhe stayed up nearly all night brainstorming topics,  which led to his paper ‘Categories of Art’. He joined the University of Michigan faculty inand became Charles L.
Stevenson Collegiate Professor in He bslieve elected as a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences inand received an honorary doctorate from the University of Nottingham in He was president of the American Society for Aesthetics waltoon to Walton’s major contribution to philosophy is his theory of representation, known as the make-believe theory.
In the context of ontology, the same theory is usually referred to as pretence theory, and in the context of representational arts, prop theory. Walton has been working on this philosophical theory since and it is expounded in his magnum opus Mimesis as Make -Believe: On the Foundations of the Representational Arts. According to Walton’s theory, representational art can be understood as props that prescribe specific imaginings, analogous to the way children’s toys such as dolls and teddy bears aalton as props in children’s games of make-believe, albeit with greater sophistication.
What is true is to be believed; what is fictional is to be imagined. Walton identifies a pretence construal whereby a person pretends to describe the real world, when actually describing a fictional world. The genesis of the make-believe theory can be found in Walton’s paper ‘Fearing Fictions’,  which addresses the Paradox of fiction i. So, for mwke, when a person who has watched a horror movie declares that they felt afraid, it is true that they were emotionally moved, but fictional that what they were moved to was ,imesis.
Mimesis as Make-Believe — Kendall L. Walton | Harvard University Press
Walton refers to these fictional emotions as quasi emotions. In later papers, Walton has expanded his theory to recognize a distinction between content oriented make-believewhich describes a participant’s relationship to the fictional worlds of novels, films, paintings etc.
Patrick Maynard has praised Walton’s achievement, saying: In an age of aesthetics glib about theory, I wonder if it will be appreciated how significant an accomplishment this is.
The game designer and philosopher Chris Bateman has adapted the make-believe theory to games and videogames.
Walton has developed several additional philosophical theories pertaining to art. He has developed the groundwork for a theory of aesthetic value in which aesthetic pleasure is understood as being partly constituted by the admiration a participant feels for an artwork,  and suggested that styles in art can be understood by comparison to the adjective qualities we attach to the actions that artists apparently took in making a work of art. Additionally, he has developed a transparency thesis of photography,  which is summarized in the following claim: We see the world through them.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.