Predelli on Fictional Discourse

Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 80 (1):83-94 (2022)
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John Searle argues that fictions are constituted by mere pretense—by the simulation of representational activities like assertions, without any further representational aim. They are not the result of sui generis, dedicated speech acts of a specific kind, on a par with assertion. The view had earlier many defenders, and still has some. Stefano Predelli enlists considerations derived from Searle in support of his radical fictionalism. This is the view that a sentence of fictional discourse including a prima facie empty fictional name like “Emma Woodhouse” in fact “is not a sentence, and it encodes no proposition whatsoever.” His argument is broadly abductive; he claims that this view affords compelling explanations of features of fictions he finds well-established, among them that fictions without explicit narrators nonetheless have covert ones. Here I take up his arguments, in defense of the dedicated speech act view. I thus address pressing issues about the status of fictional names and the nature and ubiquity of narrators in fictions.



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Manuel García-Carpintero
Universitat de Barcelona

Citations of this work

The semantics of fiction.Manuel García-Carpintero - 2022 - Mind and Language 38 (2):604-618.
‘Truth in Fiction’ Reprised.Manuel García-Carpintero - 2022 - British Journal of Aesthetics 62 (2):307-324.

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References found in this work

Reference and Existence: The John Locke Lectures.Saul A. Kripke - 2013 - New York: Oxford University Press.
A puzzle about belief.Saul A. Kripke - 1979 - In A. Margalit (ed.), Meaning and Use. Reidel. pp. 239--83.
Truth in fiction.David K. Lewis - 1978 - American Philosophical Quarterly 15 (1):37–46.
The Nature of Fiction.Gregory Currie - 1990 - Cambridge University Press.

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