Journal of Value Inquiry
Aesthetics, Emotion, Ethics, Identity, Judgment, Eroticism, Fiction
The responses are not simply imagined: we are prescribed by Justine actually to find erotically attractive the fictional events, to be amused by them, to enjoy them, to admire this kind of activity. So the novel does not just present imagined events, it also presents a point of view on them, a perspective constituted in part by actual feelings, emotions, and desires that the reader is prescribed to have toward the merely imagined events. Given that the notion of response covers such things as enjoyment and amusement, it is evident that some kinds of responses are actual, and not just imagined.
I can criticize someone for taking pleasure in others' pain, for being amused by sadistic cruelty, for being angry at someone when she has done no wrong, for desiring the bad. The same is true when responses are directed at fictional events, for these responses are actual, not just imagined ones.
Patridge, Stephanie, "Monstrous Thoughts and the Moral Identity Thesis" (2008). Religion & Philosophy Faculty Scholarship. Paper 5.
Patridge, Stephanie. "Monstrous Thoughts and the Moral Identity Thesis." Journal of Value Inquiry 42.2 (2008): 187-201.