Can fictional entities have capacities?

I think in Buddhism there is a definite trend to claim that every entity is fictional, but has causes and effects. i wouldn't really assent to the idea that every phenomena as such is a fiction, but am wondering about fictions like gods and rebirth.

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    A "naive materialist" response: Fictional entities correspond to neural patterns > neural patterns have causal effects on the world > fictional entities therefore have causal effect on the real world. Exhibit A: The effect that "Darth Vader", originally a Neural Pattern in George Lucas' brain has on S.W fans. – Alexander S King Jan 10 '17 at 22:02

Fictional is what not correspond to reality. It could be completely fictional (Buddhist example is atman), or just mistaken thinking about reality (Buddhist example is pratityasamutpada). Latter one could also have cause and effects, for example, if we imagine in deterministic way. Deterministic imagination could be very strong and causal to us (impossible to imagine differently, in more pleasant way), even though it's still imagination.

Thus, if we imagine about real entities which have capacities, we could also imagine (or even conclude that) our imaginations as having capacities.


A fictional entity can only be created by a human mind. Being a fictional creation, that is not based in fact, it can be given any kind of fictional capacities.

How can fictional capacities affect the real world? Just rephrasing your question, and to be clear: how can a real capacity, like the human mind, create fictional capacities, like those of Buddhism, that affect real capacities, in general.

Say gravity, derived by fact, but could be in some ways defined as fictional, as it does share some of its properties. That is not to say that the properties of gravity that affect the real world are those of fiction, but still, the properties that affect reality are those of fact. Fiction cannot turn gravity into something that it isn't.

Say I believe there is a diamond under my grandma's house, I'll mow it down to smithereens, wouldn't be the first time, she won't be surprised. Probably the only thing to be found, is that fiction affects humans. So in fictional entities, being a human capacity, its capacities over reality could be said to be those of human capacities.

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