Frivolous Fictions

Res Philosophica 93 (2):357-376 (2016)
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Abstract

We want to say both that Sherlock Holmes does not exist, and that he is a fictional character. But how can we say these things without committing ourselves to the existence of Sherlock Holmes? Here I develop and defend a non-commital paraphrase of quantification over fictional characters, modeled on the non-commital paraphrase Kit Fine provides for quantification over possibilia. I also develop and defend the view that names for fictional characters are weakly non-referring, in Nathan Salmon’s sense, and so provide us with a non-commital means to express singular propositions. The resulting position allows us to reap the benefits of Fictional Realism without paying the associated ontological cost.

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David Sanson
Illinois State University

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References found in this work

Modal Logic as Metaphysics.Timothy Williamson - 2013 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
Nonexistent Objects.Terence Parsons - 1980 - Yale University Press.
Reference and Existence: The John Locke Lectures.Saul A. Kripke - 2013 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Fiction and Metaphysics.Amie L. Thomasson - 1998 - Cambridge University Press.

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