Assertions in Literary Fiction

Minerva - An Internet Journal of Philosophy 13:144-180 (2009)
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In this paper, I shall examine two types of assertions in literary narrative fiction: direct assertions and those I call literary assertions. Direct assertions put forward propositions on a literal level and function as the author’s assertions even if detached from their original context and applied in so-called ordinary discourse. Literary assertions, in turn, intertwine with the fictional discourse: they may be, for instance, uttered by a fictional character or refer to fictitious objects and yet convey the author’s genuine assertions. The structure of the paper is twofold. The first, descriptive part is a question–answer type of discussion in which I shall introduce general philosophical arguments against assertions in fiction and present counter-arguments to them, paving the road to my account of literary assertions. In the second, argumentative part, in turn, I shall examine the nature of literary assertions, such as their semantic and ‘aspectival’ characteristics and their peculiar illocutionary force as well as the reader’s stance toward them.



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Jukka Mikkonen
University of Jyväskylä

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Fictions that don’t tell the truth.Neri Marsili - 2024 - Philosophical Studies 181 (5):1025-1046.

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