Theoretical Linguistics 43 (1-2):1-46 (2017)

Authors
Emar Maier
University of Groningen
Abstract
Fictional names pose a difficult puzzle for semantics. We can truthfully maintain that Frodo is a hobbit, while at the same time admitting that Frodo does not exist. To reconcile this paradox I propose a way to formalize the interpretation of fiction as ‘prescriptions to imagine’ (Walton 1990) within an asymmetric semantic framework in the style of Kamp (1990). In my proposal, fictional statements are analyzed as dynamic updates on an imagination component of the interpreter’s mental state, while plain assertions are updates on a belief component. Proper names – regular, empty, or fictional – are uniformly analyzed as presupposition triggers. The possibility of different attitude components referentially depending on each other is what ultimately allows us to account for the central paradox mentioned above.
Keywords semantics  fiction  imagination  reference  (fictional) proper names  mental states  (propositional) attitudes  mental files
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Citations of this work BETA

Death on the Freeway: Imaginative Resistance as Narrator Accommodation.Daniel Altshuler & Emar Maier - forthcoming - In Ilaria Frana, Paula Menendez Benito & Rajesh Bhatt (eds.), Making Worlds Accessible: Festschrift for Angelika Kratzer. Amherst: UMass ScholarWorks.
Lying and Fiction.Emar Maier - 2018 - In Jörg Meibauer (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Lying. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 303-314.
Co‐Identification and Fictional Names.Manuel García‐Carpintero - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
Attitudes and Mental Files in Discourse Representation Theory.Emar Maier - 2016 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 7 (2):473-490.

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