Fictions that purport to tell the truth

Philosophical Quarterly (forthcoming)
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Can fictions make genuine assertions about the actual world? Proponents of the ‘Assertion View’ answer the question affirmatively: they hold that authors can assert, by means of explicit statements that are part of the work of fiction, that something is actually the case in the real world. The ‘Nonassertion’ View firmly denies this possibility. In this paper, I defend a nuanced version of the Nonassertion View. I argue that even if fictions cannot assert, they can indirectly communicate that what is recounted as fictional is actually true. I show that this view is supported by independent linguistic data, and that it is able to defuse the objections that are typically raised against the Nonassertion View. I conclude by showing that this position has some interesting implications for testimonial cognitivism about fiction.
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Archival date: 2022-08-04
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