How I Stopped Worrying and Started Loving 'Sherlock Holmes': A Reply to Garcia-Carpintero

Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy 1 (XXXIX):105-134 (2020)
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In “Semantics of Fictional Terms,” Garcia-Carpintero critically surveys the most recent literature on the topic of fictional names. One of his targets is realism about fictional discourse. Realists about fictional discourse believe that: (a) it contains true sentences that have fictional names as their subjects; (b) sentences containing names can be true only if those names have referents; (c) fictional names have fictional characters – abstract objects – as their referents. The fundamental problem that arises for realists is that not all true sentences containing fictional names are plausibly about abstract objects. This leads to the need to introduce disjunctive conceptions of property attribution that Garcia-Carpintero claims are implausible, and that realism should therefore be rejected. He also maintains, however, that (a) is correct. I agree. Furthermore, I am also committed to anti-realism about fictional discourse – that fictional names have no referents. Garcia-Carpintero claims that my view is simply a notational variant of realism. I argue that this is false – that my view could not possibly be a notational variant of any extant realist theory.

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Heidi Erika Brock
University of Maryland, College Park (PhD)


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