The Puzzle of Fictional Resemblance

Res Philosophica 99 (3):361-375 (2022)

Abstract

This paper discusses a puzzle, the heart of which is this question: How is it that real individuals can resemble fictional individuals? It seems that any answer given by one who has taken a stand on the ontology of fictional individuals will come with significant drawbacks. An Anti-Realist will have to explain, or explain away, the apparent truth of our positive assertions of resemblance, while a Realist will have to explain how we are to understand resemblance in light of either the further claim that fictional characters are not associated with properties in the same way real individuals are, or that fictional characters are nonexistent or nonactual. I here survey the different Realist and Anti-Realist strategies in hopes that reflection on (mainly the drawbacks of) each will aid those who are curious about ontologies which may include fictionalia.

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Jeffrey Goodman
James Madison University

References found in this work

Nonexistence.Nathan Salmon - 1998 - Noûs 32 (3):277-319.
Mimesis as Make-Believe: On the Foundations of the Representational Arts.Kendall L. Walton - 1990 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 49 (2):161-166.
Creatures of Fiction.Peter van Inwagen - 1977 - American Philosophical Quarterly 14 (4):299 - 308.
Towards Non-Being: The Logic and Metaphysics of Intentionality.Graham Priest - 2005 - Bulletin of Symbolic Logic 14 (1):116-118.

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