Exploding stories and the limits of fiction

Philosophical Studies 178 (3):675-692 (2021)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

It is widely agreed that fiction is necessarily incomplete, but some recent work postulates the existence of universal fictions—stories according to which everything is true. Building such a story is supposedly straightforward: authors can either assert that everything is true in their story, define a complement function that does the assertoric work for them, or, most compellingly, write a story combining a contradiction with the principle of explosion. The case for universal fictions thus turns on the intuitive priority we assign to the law of non-contradiction. My goal in this paper is to show that our critical and reflective literary practices set constraints on story-telling which preclude universal fictions. I will raise four stumbling blocks for universal fictionalists: the gap between saying and making true, our actual interpretive reactions to story-level contradictions, the criteria we accept for what counts as a story in our literary practices, and the undesirability of the universal fictionalist’s closure principles.

Author's Profile

Michel-Antoine Xhignesse
Capilano University

Analytics

Added to PP
2020-04-20

Downloads
237 (#34,647)

6 months
84 (#8,942)

Historical graph of downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.
How can I increase my downloads?