Anthony Everett () argues that those who embrace the reality of fictional entities run into trouble when it comes to specifying criteria of character identity. More specifically, he argues that realists must reject natural principles governing the identity and distinctness of fictional characters due to the existence of fictions which leave it indeterminate whether certain characters are identical and the existence of fictions which say inconsistent things about the identities of their characters. Everett's critique has deservedly drawn much attention and (...) a number of defensive moves have been made by, or on the behalf of, fictional realists. My goal in this paper is to move this debate on a further step. I have three goals: to clarify the importance of Everett's discussion of identity criteria within the context of fictional realism, to reassess Everett's objections to realism in light of the resultant literature, and to develop a novel strategy for responding to Everett's concerns. On the approach to be developed, the problems emerge due to an indeterminacy inherent in the concept of a fictional character itself. (shrink)
When we engage with a work of fiction we gain knowledge about what is fictionally true in that work. Our grasp of what is true in a fiction is central to our engagement with representational works of art, and to our assessments of their merits. Of course, it is sometimes difficult to determine what is fictional – it is a good question whether the main character of American Psycho is genuinely psychotic or merely delusional, for instance. (And even in this (...) case, our ignorance itself is crucial to how we engage with the story and assess its qualities.) But in the vast majority of cases, we have no difficulty distinguishing what is fictionally true from what is not. Every attentive reader of Bleak House knows that it is fictional that Esther is Lady Dedlock’s daughter, but not fictional that Ada is the daughter of John Jarndyce. Moreover, we do not think that our judgements about what is fictional are based on guesswork. We have a folk theory of fictional truth, in the sense that we have a relatively stable framework upon which we rely when we engage with fiction, and we face the challenge of characterizing that theory systematically. (shrink)
The question of the cognitive role of fictionality is this: what is the correct cognitive attitude to take to p, when it is fictional that p? We began by considering one answer to this question, implicit in the work of Kendall Walton, that the correct response to a fictional proposition is to imagine that proposition. However, this approach is silent in cases of fictional incompleteness, where neither p nor its negation are fictional. We argue that that Waltonians should embrace a (...) pluralistic account of the cognitive role of fictional incompleteness: in some cases of fictional incompleteness, we are permitted to resolve the incompleteness during our engagement with the target fiction, and in other cases, we are obliged not to resolve the incompleteness. But though pluralism is accommodated by Walton’s wider account of fictionality, it puts tension on his motivating idea that fictionality stands to the imagination as truth stands to belief. And so we develop a rival conception of the cognitive role of fictionality that is built around a different analogy: on this evidentialist approach, (known) fictionality stands to the imagination as evidence stands to credence. (shrink)
This paper provides an overview of the account of fictionality — i.e. the phenomenon of things being true “in” or “according to” fictions — that lies at the heart of Kendall Walton's account of representational art. Walton's central idea is that what it is for a proposition to be fictional is for there to be a prescription to imagine that proposition. As we shall see, however, properly understanding this proposal requires an antecedent grasp of Walton's picture of games of make-believe (...) and the relations that artworks bear to appreciators. Having explicated these connections, we will then examine the extensional accuracy of Walton's account of fictionality and its connections to the wider debate about the interpretation of artworks. (shrink)
Gideon Rosen’s [1990 Modal fictionalism. Mind, 99, 327–354] Modal Fictionalist aims to secure the benefits of realism about possible-worlds, whilst avoiding commitment to the existence of any world other than our own. Rosen [1993 A problem for fictionalism about possible worlds. Analysis, 53, 71–81] and Stuart Brock [1993 Modal fictionalism: A response to Rosen. Mind, 102, 147–150] both argue that fictionalism is self-defeating since the fictionalist is tacitly committed to the existence of a plurality of worlds. In this paper, I (...) develop a new strategy for the fictionalist to pursue in response to the Brock–Rosen objection. I begin by arguing that modal fictionalism is best understood as a paraphrase strategy that concerns the propositions that are expressed, in a given context, by modal sentences. I go on to argue that what is interesting about paraphrastic fictionalism is that it allows the fictionalist to accept that the sentence ‘there is a plurality of worlds’ is true without thereby committing her to the existence of a plurality of worlds. I then argue that the paraphrastic fictionalist can appeal to a form of semantic contextualism in order to communicate her status as an anti-realist. Finally, I generalise my conception of fictionalism and argue that Daniel Nolan and John O’Leary-Hawthorne [1996 Reflexive fictionalisms. Analysis, 56, 26–32] are wrong to suggest that the Brock-Rosen objection reveals a structural flaw with all species of fictionalism. (shrink)
Realists about fictional entities often distinguish the properties that a fictional character has and the properties a character holds. Roughly, this is the distinction between the properties that a character really possesses and the properties it fictionally possess. But despite the popularity of this distinction in realist circles, it gives rise to a number of subtle issues about which fictional realists can and do disagree. In this paper, we aim to clarify these issues and defend three related theses. One: that (...) to say that Hermione holds the property of being female is just to say that the singular proposition ⟨Hermione, being female⟩ is true according to Harry Potter. Two: that ordinary objects can hold properties insofar as propositions like ⟨Napoleon, being French⟩ can be true according to fictions like War and Peace. Three: that the distinction between having and holding should not be thought to play any semantic role within the context of fictional realism. (shrink)
The modal fictionalist faces a problem due to the fact that her chosen story seems to be incomplete—certain things are neither fictionally true nor fictionally false. The significance of this problem is not localized to modal fictionalism, however, since many fictionalists will face it too. By examining how the fictionalist should analyze the notion of truth according to her story, and, in particular, the role that conditionals play for the fictionalist, I develop a novel and elegant solution to the incompleteness (...) problem. (shrink)
In Mimesis as Make-Believe, Kendall Walton gave a pioneering account of the nature of fictionality, which holds that what it is for p to be fictional is for there to exist a prescription to imagine that p. But Walton has recently distanced himself from his original analysis and now holds that prescriptions to imagine are merely necessary conditions on fictionality. Many of the alleged counterexamples that have prompted Walton's retreat are drawn from the field of photography, and it is upon (...) these cases that I focus. I argue that once Walton's analysis is properly articulated, we can accommodate the apparent counterexamples by paying careful attention both to the general features of the photographic medium and the specific features of the photographs in question. (shrink)
One pressing question facing Barnes andWilliams is that of which vari- eties of metaphysical indeterminacy can be can accommodated within their framework. In what remains, I shall examine whether their framework can allow that it sometimes metaphysically indeterminate whether an object exists. I shall begin by outlining an argument, due to Theodore Sider, to the conclusion that vague existence is impossible.
In the recent literature on all things metaontological, discussion of a notorious Meinongian doctrine—the thesis that some objects have no kind of being at all—has been conspicuous by its absence. And this is despite the fact that this thesis is the central element of the noneist metaphysics of Richard Routley (1980) and Graham Priest (2005). In this paper, we therefore examine the metaontological foundations of noneism, with a view to seeing exactly how the noneist's approach to ontological inquiry differs from (...) the orthodox Quinean one. We proceed by arguing that the core anti-Quinean element in noneism has routinely been misidentified: rather than concerning Quine's thesis that to be is to be the value of a variable, the real difference is that the noneist rejects what we identify as Quine's “translate-and-deflate” methodology. In rejecting this aspect of Quinean orthodoxy, the noneist is in good company: many of those who think that questions of fundamentality should be the proper focus of ontological inquiry can be read as rejecting it too. Accordingly, we then examine the differences between the noneist's conception of ontology and that offered by the fundamentalist. We argue that these two anti-Quinean approaches differ in terms of their respective conceptions of the theoretical role associated with the notion of being. And the contrast that emerges between them is, in the end, an explanatory one. (shrink)
Possible worlds represent you as being certain ways, as having a different lives, different hopes, and different friends. A foundational question in the philosophy of modality thus emerges: in virtue of what does a world represent you in these ways? In this paper, we focus on David Lewis's answer to this metarepresentational question: Counterpart Theory.
Counterpart theory has many benefits, but few are happy to accept the metaphysical setting in which this account of de re modality was developed by its architect, David Lewis. I argue here that counterpart theory can be made acceptable by the lights of those who repudiate the existence of merely possible objects. To the "ersatz" counterpart theorist I offer two stories: one about the relate of the counterpart relation and one about the relation itself. With these in place, I then (...) defend ersatz counterpart theory from a number of objections that can be found in the literature. (shrink)
This article examines a popular complaint against the fictionalist account of possible objects bruited by Gideon Rosen. This is the complaint that modal fictionalism is, in some sense or other, hopelessly artificial. I shall separate two different strands to this worry and examine each in turn. As we shall see, neither strand to the objection is intractable.
The standard Kripkean semantic theories for quantified modal logic allow the individuals that exist at other worlds to vary from those that exist at the actual world. This causes a problem for those who deny the existence of non-actual individuals. I focus on two prominent strategies for solving this problem, due respectively to Bernard Linsky and Edward Zalta (who identify the possible individuals with the actual individuals) and Alvin Plantinga (who identifies the possible individuals with the individual essences). I argue, (...) contra various commentators, that both of these solutions are acceptable by the lights of those who deny the existence of mere possibilia. (shrink)
In recent work, Jonathan Schaffer (Mind 119: 341–376, 2010) has attempted to argue that counterpart theorists are committed to holding that any two actual objects are bound together in a modally substantial sense. By clarifying the core elements of counterpart theory, I explain why Schaffer’s argument fails.
Stephen Yablo (2001) argues that traditional fictionalist strategies run into trouble due to a mismatch between the modal status of a claim like ‘2 + 3 = 5’ and the modal status of its fictionalist paraphrase. I argue here that Yablo is best seen as confronting the fictionalist with a dilemma, and then go on to show how this dilemma can be resolved.
In diesem Eintrag werden zwei miteinander zusammenhängende Aspekte betrachtet. Nun betreffen diese zwei Aspekte aber nicht ontologische Fragen erster Ordnung, d. h. Fragen, was es gibt. Vielmehr sind es Fragen zweiter Ordnung, ›metaontologische‹ Fragen dazu, wie philosophisch untersucht werden sollte, was es gibt. Der Fokus dieses Eintrags liegt dabei auf der Standardauffassung ontologischer Untersuchung, die die philosophische Literatur der letzten Jahre dominiert hat. Diese Auffassung haben wir zum größten Teil dem Einfluss von Willard Van Orman Quine zu verdanken.
Clambering down slippery rocks to a swimming hole. Ducking the plume of smoke from a barbecue grill. Wishing for a breeze in a too-small dome tent. Scanning the sky for rain from a postage-stamp backyard. It is in these small moments of action—and inaction—that Justin Kimball captures our everyday attempts to relax. Indeed, one might argue that the events depicted are everyday life. Kimball’s compelling photographs depict ordinary people—parents and teens, grandparents and kids—in landscapes of leisure. These are not the (...) exclusive resorts and white sand beaches of the affluent; rather, they are the parks, campgrounds, and fishing piers where most Americans vacation. They are natural landscapes—inviting, green, and sometimes beautiful—but at the same time they are imperfect—muddy, crowded, and partially paved. There is nothing idyllic about these vacation spots; indeed, Kimball’s photographs make clear that daily life can never be fully left behind. The people in his pictures, though momentarily transformed by cascading water or the shade of towering trees, remain enmeshed in ties of family and obligation, shadowed by thoughts of home. It is Kimball’s particular genius to isolate these moments between duty and pleasure. Where We Find Ourselves enables viewers to identify with—and participate in—this bittersweet aspect of American leisure and the ambiguous contemporary relationship between people and nature. (shrink)
Safety testing of biological pharmaceuticals is often carried out by contract testing laboratories which perform these tests on behalf of the drug’s developer. These laboratories are confronted with a number of ethical issues related to selling their services, maintaining confidentiality, and the handling of results. This paper outlines these issues, and, by way of illustration, discusses how one such laboratory addresses them.