Twofileness. A Functionalist Approach to Fictional Characters and Mental Files

Erkenntnis 86 (1):129-147 (2021)
  Copy   BIBTEX


This paper considers two issues raised by the claim that fictional characters are abstract artifacts. First, given that artifacts normally have functions, what is the function of a fictional character? Second, given that, in experiencing works of fictions, we usually treat fictional characters as concrete individuals, how can such a phenomenology fit with an ontology according to which fictional characters are abstract artifacts? I will indirectly address the second issue by directly addressing the first one. For this purpose, I will rely on the notion of a mental file. I will argue that the function of fictional characters is the generation of mental files of a special kind. I will show that our experience of fictional characters as concrete individuals depends on the kind of mental files that are generated by fictional characters as abstract artifacts. I will conclude that an appreciator of a work of fiction can open two files about a certain fictional character; one about the character as an individual in the fictional world, and the other about the character as an abstract artifact in the actual world. In this sense, our relation to a fictional character is characterized by a duality of files or ‘twofileness’.

Similar books and articles

Files for Fiction.Eleonora Orlando - 2017 - Acta Analytica 32 (1):55-71.
On Fictional Characters as Types.Enrico Terrone - 2017 - British Journal of Aesthetics 57 (2):161-176.
A Mental Files Approach to Delusional Misidentification.Sam Wilkinson - 2016 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 7 (2):389-404.
Mental Files.François Recanati - 2012 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
Actualisme et fiction.Jérôme Pelletier - 2000 - Dialogue 39 (1):77-.
Speaking of fictional characters.Amie L. Thomasson - 2003 - Dialectica 57 (2):205–223.
Speaking of Fictional Characters.Amie L. Thomasson - 2003 - Dialectica 57 (2):205-223.
Fictional characters and literary practices.Amie L. Thomasson - 2003 - British Journal of Aesthetics 43 (2):138-157.
Fictional characters.Stacie Friend - 2007 - Philosophy Compass 2 (2):141–156.
On Recanati’s Mental Files.Dilip Ninan - 2015 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 58 (4):368-377.


Added to PP

326 (#53,765)

6 months
104 (#31,068)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Enrico Terrone
Università degli Studi di Genova

Citations of this work

The semantics of fiction.Manuel García-Carpintero - 2023 - Mind and Language 38 (2):604-618.
Fictional Characters and Characterisations.Niall Connolly - 2023 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 104 (2):348-367.
Inheriting the World.Michel-Antoine Xhignesse - 2020 - Journal of Applied Logics 7 (2):163-70.

Add more citations

References found in this work

Mental Files.François Recanati - 2012 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
Fiction and Metaphysics.Amie L. Thomasson - 1998 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
The Objects of Thought.Tim Crane - 2013 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.

View all 33 references / Add more references