Fictional Realism and Negative Existentials

In Manuel García-Carpintero & Genoveva Martí (eds.), Empty Representations: Reference and Non-Existence. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. pp. 333-352 (2014)
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In this paper I confront what I take to be the crucial challenge for fictional realism, i.e. the view that fictional characters exist. This is the problem of accounting for the intuition that corresponding negative existentials such as ‘Sherlock Holmes does not exist’ are true (when, given fictional realism, taken literally they seem false). I advance a novel and detailed form of the response according to which we take them to mean variants of such claims as: there is no concrete x such that x is Sherlock Holmes.

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Tatjana von Solodkoff
University College Dublin


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