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Objects of Inquiry in Philosophy of Language and Linguistics

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Edited By Piotr Stalmaszczyk

This book investigates possible common objects of inquiry in philosophy of language and literature. The topics discussed include proper names (analyzed from different theoretical perspectives), fictional names, truth in fiction, ontological status and metaphysics of fictional characters, metaphor, representation, interpretation, and other issues connecting research in philosophy of language with philosophy of literature. Theoretical frameworks include Millian semantics, Fregean semantics, hybrid semantics, realism, antirealism, and metaphorical expressivism.

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Absorbing Reality into Fiction: The Challenge of Reading Fiction with Reality in Mind (Ben Martin)

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Ben Martin

University of Bergen, Norway

Absorbing Reality into Fiction: The Challenge of Reading Fiction with Reality in Mind

Abstract: The truths of a fiction extend far beyond those stated in its text. We have good reason, for example, to believe that Sherlock Holmes possesses a Cerebral Cortex, although we are never told so within the stories. To infer these further truths, we must rely upon a host of previously acquired background assumptions. Establishing what exactly these assumptions are, and how they help us extend the truths of a fiction, however, is not a simple matter. Contributing to the debate, Stacie Friend (2017) has recently argued that fictions fundamentally rely upon the actual world for their content, appealing to evidence from the cognitive sciences. According to her Reality Assumption, every proposition which is actually true is also fictionally true, unless otherwise excluded by the fiction. This paper challenges Friend’s Reality Assumption, arguing both that the empirical evidence advanced in its favour offers inadequate support, and that the Assumption in its present form inadequately serves its intended function.

Keywords: fictions, Reality Assumption, Reality Principle, Stacie Friend

1 Identifying Truths in Fiction

Arthur Conan Doyle never tells us that Holmes lives nearer to Oxford than Edinburgh, yet if asked we would be certain he does. Similarly, Doyle never rules out the possibility that Holmes has a third eye, yet if pushed we should flat out deny he...

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