The truth about fictional entities

Philosophical Quarterly 24 (94):27-36 (1974)
The usual strawsonian account of referring won't do for fictional entities. The problem is that we still don't have a sufficiently clear notion of ordinary referring, And the root of this problem is that referring is still perceived in terms of a paradigm relation of a description to an existing thing. But that relation is preceded by the more fundamental relation of thought to an object of thought, Whether real or imaginary. The conclusion reached is that fictional reference is an institutionalized partial use of ordinary referring, Parasitic on it though leading a legitimate life of its own
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DOI 10.2307/2218282
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