Impossible Fiction Part II: Lessons for Mind, Language and Epistemology

Philosophy Compass 16 (2):1-12 (2021)
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Abstract

Abstract Impossible fictions have lessons to teach us about linguistic representation, about mental content and concepts, and about uses of conceivability in epistemology. An adequate theory of impossible fictions may require theories of meaning that can distinguish between different impossibilities; a theory of conceptual truth that allows us to make useful sense of a variety of conceptual falsehoods; and a theory of our understanding of necessity and possibility that permits impossibilities to be conceived. After discussing these questions, strategies for resisting the picture of impossible fictions presented here and in Part I are discussed. Perhaps apparently impossible fictions describe possibilities after all; or perhaps impossible fictions are all trivial; or perhaps some apparently intelligible impossible fictions are unintelligible after all.

Author's Profile

Daniel Nolan
University of Notre Dame

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