Eluding Wilson's “elusive narrators”

Philosophical Studies 147 (3):387 - 394 (2010)
George Wilson has defended the thesis that even impersonal third-person fictional narratives should be taken to contain fictional narrations and have fictional narrators. This, he argues, is necessary if we are to explain how readers can take themselves, in their imaginative engagement with fictions, to have knowledge of the things they are imagining. I argue that there is at least one class of impersonal third-person fictional narratives—thought experiments—to which Wilson’s model fails to apply, and that this reveals more general problems with his argument. I further argue that there is no good reason to think that Wilson’s account applies more restrictedly to those impersonal third-person fictional narratives that feature in standard works of literary fiction.
Keywords Fictional narratives  Fictional narrators  Thought experiments
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DOI 10.1007/s11098-008-9292-3
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