Anthony Everett gives a philosophical defence of the common-sense view that there are no such things as fictional people, places, and things. He argues that our talk and thought about such fictional objects takes place within the scope of a pretense, and that we gain little but lose much by accepting fictional realism.
In recent years a number of authors sympathetic to Referentialistaccounts of proper names have argued that utterances containingempty names express `gappy,' or incomplete, propositions. In this paper I want to take issue with this suggestion.In particular, I argue versions of this approach developedby David Braun, Nathan Salmon, Ken Taylor, and by Fred Adams,Gary Fuller, and Robert Stecker.
I argue for the existence of intrinsic Finks, Masks, and Mimics, and argue that these undermine certain recent attempts to revive simple conditional analyses of dispositions. I present some examples of intrinsic Finks, Masks, and Mimics, and argue that the example of an intrinsic fink I present has certain advantages over the examples of intrinsic finks recently suggested by Randolph Clarke. I conclude that the existence of such Finks, Masks, and Mimics, undermine a recent attempt by Sungho Choi to distinguish (...) dispositional properties from categorical properties. (shrink)
There has recently been considerable interest in accounts of fiction which treat fictional characters as abstract objects. In this paper I argue against this view. More precisely I argue that such accounts are unable to accommodate our intuitions that fictional negative existentials such as “Raskolnikov doesn’t exist” are true. I offer a general argument to this effect and then consider, but reject, some of the accounts of fictional negative existentials offered by abstract object theorists. I then note that some of (...) the sort of data invoked by the abstract object theorist in fact cuts against her position. I concludle that we should not regard fictional characters as abstract objects but rather should adopt a make-believe theoretic account of fictional characters along the lines of those developed by Ken Walton and others. (shrink)
Eleven original essays discuss a range of puzzling philosophical questions about fictional characters, and more generally about fictional objects. For example, they ask questions like the following: Do they really exist? What would fictional objects be like if they existed? Do they exist eternally? Are they created? Who by? When and how? Can they be destroyed? If so, how? Are they abstract or concrete? Are they actual? Are they complete objects? Are they possible objects? How many fictional objects are there? (...) What are their identity conditions? What kinds of attitudes can we have towards them? This volume will be a landmark in the philosophical debate about fictional objects, and will influence higher-level debates within metaphysics, the philosophy of mind, and the philosophy of language. (shrink)
David Sosa, Michael Nelson, and Jason Stanley have recently offered a series of interesting and provocative challenges to Kripke's modal arguments against Descriptivism. In this paper I explore these challenges and some of the issues to which they give rise. I argue that, in the end, all three challenges fail.
In this paper I present two arguments against the thesis that we experience qualia. I argue that if we experienced qualia then these qualia would have to be essentially vague entities. And I then offer two arguments, one a reworking of Gareth Evans' argument against the possibility of vague objects, the other a reworking of the Sorites argument, to show that no such essentially vague entities can exist. I consider various objections but argue that ultimately they all fail. In particular (...) I claim that the stock responses to the Sorites argument fail against my reworking of the argument because they require us to make a distinction between a determinate reality and how that reality appears to us, whereas in the case of qualia we can make no such distinction. I conclude that there can be no such things as qualia. (shrink)
Jonathan Berg’s insightful and lucid book Direct Belief develops a pragmatic account of our intuitions about Frege-cases. More precisely Berg argues that our practice of belief-reporting normally exhibits certain regularities. He argues that utterances of belief reports typically conversationally implicate that the reports adhere to these regularities. And he uses these implicatures to explain our intuitions about Frege-cases. I explore and unpack Berg’s pragmatic account, considering and offering responses to three natural worries that might be raised. In particular, I respond (...) to the objection that the regularities Berg invokes cannot generate the conversational implicatures he claims. I respond to the objection that the regularities Berg invokes do not, in fact, obtain. And I respond to the worry that Berg cannot explain how these regularities might arise in the first place. (shrink)
In a number of places Mark Sainsbury has recently developed an attractive irrealist account of fiction and intentionality, on which there are no fictional objects or exotic intentional entities. A central component of his account is an ambitious argument, which aims to establish that the truth of intensional transitives such as “I think about Holmes” and “Alexander feared Zeus” does not require the existence of fictional or intentional objects. It would be good news indeed for the irrealist if Sainsbury’s argument (...) worked. However, I argue that Sainsbury’s argument fails. I conclude by considering how Sainsbury’s irrealist might explain our intuitions about such sentences, drawing upon another component of Sainsbury’s irrealism. (shrink)
In this paper I consider whether disquotationalist accounts of reference can accommodate our intuitions concerning reference. I argue that, if our intuitions are to be satisfactorily accommodated, the disquotationalist must regard the semantic content of a referring singular term as depending upon the object which is the intuitive referent of that singular term. Granted this, however, the way then looks open for the inflationist about reference to simply identify the object dependence relation with the reference relation. I consider how damaging (...) this is for the disquotationalist, and how she might respond, concluding on a note of pessimism for disquotationalist accounts of reference. (shrink)