Defending Author-essentialism

Philosophy and Literature 29 (1):200-208 (2005)

Abstract

Creationism is the view that fictional individuals such as Sherlock Holmes are contingently existing abstracta that come about due to the intentional activities of authors. Author-essentialism is the stronger thesis that the author responsible for bringing a fictional individual into existence at a time is essential to the existence of that individual. Takashi Yagisawa has recently attacked this view on the following grounds: author-essentialists rely on an ontological parallelism between fictional individuals and whole works of fiction, but this parallelism fails to obtain. I here argue that Yagisawa’s grounds are weak.

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Jeffrey Goodman
James Madison University

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