The pragmatic approach to fictive utterances and its consequences for mental fictionalism

In Tamás Demeter, Ted Parent & Adam Toon (eds.), Mental Fictionalism: Philosophical Explorations. London: Routledge. pp. 199-213 (2022)
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This chapter has three aims. Firstly, it elaborates the so-called pragmatic approach to fictionalism. By evoking some classical pragmatic theories of fictive utterances, it gives an account of pragmatic properties responsible for the difference between serious and fictive utterances. The authors argue for the thesis that the pragmatic approach can be applied plausibly to all kinds of fictionalism, that is from instrumentalism to figuralism. Secondly, the authors investigate some consequences of the suggested account for fictionalist theories in general. They show that some more or less known difficulties of fictionalist theories become more serious if one accepts the pragmatic approach. The chapter discusses two of them, namely the problem of entirely fictional discourses and the apparent contradiction between hermeneutic fictionalism and first person authority. Thirdly, the authors investigate the consequences of the pragmatic approach for mental fictionalism in particular. At the end of the paper, they argue that once the pragmatic approach is applied to mental fictionalism, the well-known problem of cognitive suicide becomes especially nagging. They suggest it is highly questionable that mental fictionalism is worth to endorse in the light of these serious difficulties.

Author Profiles

Miklós Márton
Eotvos Lorand University of Sciences
János Tőzsér
Research Centre for The Humanities, Budapest, Hungary


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