Names for Ficta, for intentionalia, and for nothing
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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In María José Frápolli (ed.), Saying, Meaning and Referring: Essays on François Recanati's Philosophy of Language. Palgrave Macmillan (2007)
In his Oratio Obliqua, Oratio Recta, Recanati maintains two main theses regarding meta-representational sentences embedding allegedly empty proper names. The first thesis concerns both belief sentences embedding allegedly empty names and (internal) meta-fictional sentences (i.e., sentences of the form “in the story S, p”)1 embedding fictional, hence again allegedly empty, names.2 It says that such sentences primarily have fictive truth-conditions: that is, conditions for their fictional truth. The second thesis is that a fictive ascription of a singular belief, assigning to a certain metarepresentational sentence fictive truth-conditions, amounts to the factive ascription of a pseudo-singular belief, assigning to that very sentence factual truth-conditions as well. In what follows, I will first try to show that the first thesis is definitely correct only for a rather limited range of cases, i.e. cases of meta-representational sentences embedding absolutely empty proper names. Second, I will claim not only that that the notion of a pseudo-singular belief is not so clear as it may seem, but also that, for those cases for which the first thesis is correct, we do not really need the sentences involved to also have factive truth-conditions.
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