Modal meinongianism and fiction: The best of three worlds

Philosophical Studies 152 (3):313-35 (2011)
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Abstract

We outline a neo-Meinongian framework labeled as Modal Meinongian Metaphysics (MMM) to account for the ontology and semantics of fictional discourse. Several competing accounts of fictional objects are originated by the fact that our talking of them mirrors incoherent intuitions: mainstream theories of fiction privilege some such intuitions, but are forced to account for others via complicated paraphrases of the relevant sentences. An ideal theory should resort to as few paraphrases as possible. In Sect. 1, we make this explicit via two methodological principles, called the Minimal Revision and the Acceptability Constraint. In Sect. 2, we introduce the standard distinction between internal and external fictional discourse. In Sects. 3–5, we discuss the approaches of (traditional) Meinongianism, Fictionalism, and Realism—and their main troubles. In Sect. 6 we propose our MMM approach. This is based upon (1) a modal semantics including impossible worlds (Subsect. 6.1); (2) a qualified Comprehension Principle for objects (Subsect. 6.2); (3) a notion of existence-entailment for properties (Subsect. 6.3). In Sect. 7 we present a formal semantics for MMM based upon a representation operator. And in Sect. 8 we have a look at how MMM solves the problems of the three aforementioned theories.

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Franz Berto
University of St. Andrews

Citations of this work

Theories of Aboutness.Peter Hawke - 2018 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 96 (4):697-723.
Truth in Fiction: Rethinking its Logic.John Woods - 2018 - Cham, Switzerland: Springer Verlag.
The Nature of Model-World Comparisons.Fiora Salis - 2016 - The Monist 99 (3):243-259.
Hyperintensionality and Normativity.Federico L. G. Faroldi - 2019 - Cham, Switzerland: Springer Verlag.

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References found in this work

On Denoting.Bertrand Russell - 1905 - Mind 14 (56):479-493.
On Denoting.Bertrand Russell - 2005 - Mind 114 (456):873 - 887.
Nonexistent Objects.Terence Parsons - 1980 - Yale University Press.
Truth in fiction.David K. Postscripts to Lewis - 1978 - American Philosophical Quarterly 15 (1):37--46.

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