Fictional Hierarchies And Modal Theories Of Fiction

Postgraduate Journal of Aesthetics 6 (1):34-45 (2009)
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Abstract

Some philosophers of fiction – most famously Jerold Levinson1 - have tried to argue that fictional narrators can never be identified with real authors. This argument relies on the claim that narration involves genuine assertion (not just the pretense of assertion that lacks truthfulness) and that real authors are not in a position to assert anything about beings on the fictional plain - given that they don’t rationally believe in their existence. This debate on the status of narrators depends on the idea that fictional beings and beings in the real worlds reside, as it were, at different levels. The assumption that there is a gap separating the levels of fiction and reality serves as a rationale for the claim that real authors could not possibly be en rapport with the fictional characters that they create (e.g. entertain beliefs about them, etc.).

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Johannes Schmitt
University of Konstanz

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