Assertions in Literary Fiction
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Minerva 13:144-180 (2009)
In this paper, I shall examine two types of assertions in literary narrative fiction: direct assertions and those I call literary assertions. Direct assertions put forward propositions on a literal level and function as the author’s assertions even if detached from their original context and applied in so-called ordinary discourse. Literary assertions, in turn, intertwine with the fictional discourse: they may be, for instance, uttered by a fictional character or refer to fictitious objects and yet convey the author’s genuine assertions. The structure of the paper is twofold. The first, descriptive part is a question–answer type of discussion in which I shall introduce general philosophical arguments against assertions in fiction and present counter-arguments to them, paving the road to my account of literary assertions. In the second, argumentative part, in turn, I shall examine the nature of literary assertions, such as their semantic and ‘aspectival’ characteristics and their peculiar illocutionary force as well as the reader’s stance toward them.
|Keywords||literature fiction assertion truth truth-claim|
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