Abstract Artifact Theory about Fictional Characters Defended — Why Sainsbury’s Category-Mistake Objection is Mistaken

Proceedings of the European Society for Aesthetics Vol. 5/2013 (2013)
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In this paper, I explore a line of argument against one form of realism about fictional characters : abstract artifact theory, the view according to which fictional characters like Harry Potter are part of our reality, but, they are abstract objects created by humans, akin to the institution of marriage and the game of soccer. I will defend artifactualism against an objection that Mark Sainsbury considers decisive against it: the category-mistake objection. The objection has it that artifactualism attributes to people who produce and process sentences and thoughts about Harry Potter massive error, indeed, a category mistake about what kind of thing Harry Potter is; for an abstract object isn’t the sort of thing that can wear glasses, ride a double-decker bus, attend school. Given problems with this objection, artifactualism, I shall conclude, remains a tenable contender

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Zsofia Zvolenszky
Eotvos Lorand University of Sciences


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