This book examines the complex and varied ways in which fictions relate to the real world, and offers a precise account of how imaginative works of literature can use fictional content to explore matters of universal human interest. While rejecting the traditional view that literature isimportant for the truths that it imparts, the authors also reject attempts to cut off literature altogether from real human concerns. Their detailed account of fictionality, mimesis, and cognitive value helps restore to literature its distinctive status among cultural practices. The authors also explore the limits of fictionality, particularly in relation to metaphysical and sceptical views, prevalent in modern thought, according to which the world itself is a kind of fiction, and truth no more than a cultural construct. They identify different conceptions of fiction inscience, logic, epistemology, and make-believe, and thereby challenge the idea that discourse per se is fictional and that different modes of discourse are at root indistinguishable. They offer rigorous analyses of the roles of narrative, imagination, metaphor, and 'making' in human thoughtprocesses. Both in their methods and in their conclusions, Lamarque and Olsen aim to bring much-needed rigour and clarity to debates about the values of literature, and to provide new, philosophically sound foundations for a genuine change of direction in literary theorizing.