Kendall L. Walton



United States

Institutional affiliation

University of Michigan; Stanford University



Research interests relevant to game philosophy

Much of my work consists in exploring connections between theoretical questions about the arts and issues of philosophy of mind, metaphysics, and philosophy of language. In my book Mimesis as Make Believe: On the Foundations of the Representational Arts, I develop a theory of make-believe and use it to understand the nature and varieties of representation in the arts. I have written about pictorial representation, fiction and the emotions, the ontological status of fictional entities, the aesthetics of music, metaphor, and aesthetic value.

Publications and presentations relevant to game philosophy

Mimesis as Make-Believe: on the Foundations of the Representational Arts (Harvard University Press, 1990.

“Ancient Antecedents of Computer Game Fictions: Sports, Board Games, and Children’s Make-Believe”. Keynote lecture on the Philosophy of Computer Games Conference 2009.

“Me, Myself, and My Avatar”. Presentation as part of a panel on computer games, at the American Society for Aesthetics meetings, 2013.

“‘It’s Only a Game!’: Sports as Fiction”. In Walton, In Other Shoes: Music Metaphor, Empathy, Existence (Oxford University Press, 2015).


aesthetics, fiction, make-believe, representation, emotions, aesthetic value


Kendall L. Walton