Revue Internationale de Philosophie n° 262 (4-2012)

Revue Internationale de Philosophie n° 262 (4-2012)

Analytic Philosophy of Fiction

When children play they are often engaged in games wherein they pretend that certain things are true and as adults we learn how to pretend in more and more sophisticated ways. And thus we make up legends, write poems and novels, produce theatrical performances and films. In sum, we create fiction, more specifically fictional works. Fictional works narrate stories, stories that are typically known to be false, at least in part. Aiming at truth is not of course their point. Yet, perhaps precisely because of this deliberate lack of connection with truth, fiction raises a number of philosophical conundrums : How is it possible that stories that we consider false solicit emotional responses? What do we refer to with names that occur in fiction such as « Batman » and « Gotham City » ? Do they stand for fictional entities? And, if so, what are these fictional entities and what place do they have in reality? How do they relate to the stories that they « inhabit » ? Can they dwell in more than one story? And can concrete individuals such as London and Queen Elisabeth also find a place in stories?
Since the early days of Frege and Russell, the ontological perplexities raised by fiction have played a central role in analytic philosophy and analytic philosophers keep addressing problems such as those hinted at above in richer and richer ways.

With texts by : F. Berto, N. Dolcini, M. Fontaine, J.R. Hamilton, G. La,dini, F. Orilia, S. Rahman, R.LM. Sainsbury and A. Voltolini