Beliefs and Fictional Narrators

Analysis 55 (2):121 - 122 (1995)
In his book _The Nature of Fiction_ Greg Currie makes the following proposal concerning the contents of works of fiction: 'Fs' is an abbreviation of 'P is true in fiction S', where P is some proposition and S is some work of fiction. 'Fs' is true iff it is reasonable for the informed reader to infer that the fictional author of S believes that P. In reading a fiction we engage in a make-believe, and the fictional author is that fictional character constructed within our make-believe whom we take to be telling us the story as known fact. Currie's view applies a general account of communication to understanding fiction. This is an advantage for a number of reasons, not least that the capacities I use to understand a novel do seem to be those I use in understanding written factual information. From what the fictional author 'says', we infer what he believes; reading a book is 'an exploration of the fictional author's belief structure'. From this simple and plausible basis, Currie gives a convincing philosophical account of the nature of fiction. Convincing though the account is, it cannot be quite right
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DOI 10.1093/analys/55.2.121
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