The will to make-believe : religious fictionalism, religious beliefs, and the value of art

Document Type

Journal article

Source Publication

Philosophy and Phenomenological Research

Publication Date



Advance online publication


Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.


I explore some of the reasons why, under specific circumstances, it may be rational to make-believe or imagine certain religious beliefs. Adopting a jargon familiar to certain contemporary philosophers, my main concern here is to assess what reasons can be given for adopting a fictionalist stance towards some religious beliefs. My understanding of fictionalism does not involve solely a propositional attitude but a broader stance, which may include certain acts of pretence. I also argue that a plausible reason to be fictionalist about a specific set of religious beliefs and practices has to do with the value of some artistic creations; namely, those that require the adoption of a religious point of view for their understanding.



Print ISSN




Publisher Statement

Copyright © 2016 Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, LLC. Access to external full text or publisher's version may require subscription.

Full-text Version

Publisher’s Version

Recommended Citation

Sauchelli, A. (2016). The will to make-believe: Religious fictionalism, religious beliefs, and the value of art. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1111/phpr.12328