Description, Disagreement, and Fictional Names

Canadian Journal of Philosophy 41 (3):423-448 (2011)
Abstract
In this paper, a theory of the contents of fictional names — names of fictional people, places, etc. — will be developed.1 The fundamental datum that must be addressed by such a theory is that fictional names are, in an important sense, empty: the entities to which they putatively refer do not exist.2 Nevertheless, they make substantial contributions to the truth conditions of sentences in which they occur. Not only do such sentences have truth conditions, sentences differing only in the fictional names they contain differ in their truth conditions. It is, after all, commonplace to note such things as, for example, thatBilbo Baggins is a hobbitis true, andSherlock Holmes is a hobbitis false, while acknowledging at ..
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