Fictionalism about fictional characters

Noûs 36 (1):1–21 (2002)
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Abstract

Despite protestations to the contrary, philosophers have always been renowned for espousing theories that do violence to common-sense opinion. In the last twenty years or so there has been a growing number of philosophers keen to follow in this tradition. According to these philosophers, if a story of pure fic-tion tells us that an individual exists, then there really is such an individual. According to these realists about fictional characters, ‘Scarlett O’Hara,’ ‘Char-lie Brown,’ ‘Batman,’ ‘Superman,’ ‘Tweedledum’ and ‘Tweedledee’ are not denotationless terms, but names that really refer. What is truly surprising about this situation is that almost no one has inveighed against this unfortunate real-ist tendency. My aim here will be to challenge this new orthodoxy, and to defend an anti-realist position against the arguments proffered by the realist

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Stuart Brock
Victoria University of Wellington

Citations of this work

Models and fictions in science.Peter Godfrey-Smith - 2009 - Philosophical Studies 143 (1):101 - 116.
Nonexistent objects.Maria Reicher - 2019 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Fictionalism.Matti Eklund - 2010 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Speaking of fictional characters.Amie L. Thomasson - 2003 - Dialectica 57 (2):205–223.

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References found in this work

On the Plurality of Worlds.David Lewis - 1986 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 178 (3):388-390.
Counterfactuals.David Lewis - 1973 - Foundations of Language 13 (1):145-151.
Vagueness.Timothy Williamson - 1995 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 46 (4):589-601.
Inquiry.Robert Stalnaker - 1984 - Synthese 79 (1):171-189.
What we disagree about when we disagree about ontology.Cian Dorr - 2005 - In Mark Eli Kalderon (ed.), Fictionalism in Metaphysics. Oxford University Press. pp. 234--86.

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