How Ficta Follow Fiction: A Syncretistic Account of Fictional Entities

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Accordingly, one may also call them constitutive properties. As far as fictional entities are concerned, the nuclear properties that constitute the sets in which these entities consist are those which are ascribed to them in their respective narratives. Over and above these properties, however, Meinongian objects also possess properties that do not belong to the sets that constitute them.

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This book presents a novel theory of fictional entities which is syncretistic insofar as it integrates the work of previous authors. It puts forward a new metaphysical. This is an absolutely excellent book and should be required reading for anyone interested in fictional objects, fiction, or fictionalist accounts of.

As far as fictional entities are concerned, these are precisely the properties that are attributed to such entities outside the relevant narration: in the case of Hamlet, being created by Shakespeare, being approved of by many people, being a model for other fictional characters, having no spatiotemporal existence and—last but not least—being a fictional character. They would not find that this property distinction has made their original problem disappear. Yet how can he be a prince in the same sense as Charles, Prince of Wales? He also lives in Denmark, or so Shakespeare tells us.

But how is it that if one had gone to Denmark, there would never have been the possibility of meeting him as there would be in respect of an actually existing real Dane? In the abstractionist camp, it has appealed above all to Platonists. In this reply, it is not the case that Meinongian 52 Cf. Meinong []: , Parsons , In Voltolini — , I recall some of the traditional difficulties affecting the search for such a criterion. There is just one kind of property that they, like any other individual, possess. But there are two modes in which properties of one and the same kind can be predicated of individuals, Meinongian or not.

So, actually spatiotemporally existing individuals have properties only in the external mode. Moreover, a Meinongian object can have properties not only in the internal but also in the external mode possibly, the very same properties. Some philosophers have wondered whether the one can in fact be reduced to the other.

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For example, internally Hamlet is a prince and an inhabitant of Denmark, but Frederik of Denmark has those very same properties externally. This is why if we go to Denmark and look through the list of Danish princes we will find Frederik, but there has never been any possibility of finding Hamlet. Moreover, it is true that Hamlet also has all those properties which are assigned to him outside of any fictional story given that he has all of them not internally, but externally. Mally 64, Rapaport Rapaport and Zalta respectively]. I think the distinction does avoid the paradoxes, but I cannot go into this issue here in a systematic fashion.

For a brief discussion of this point, See Chapter 3. These reasons can be traced back to the fact that, as I said in the Introduction, fiction is the realm where the impossible is, so to speak, possible. Put differently, anything that can be imagined, whether it appears to be possible or not, can be a subject of fiction. So there may well be a novel starting with the following sentence: 1 Once upon a time there was a fictional object. This hypothetical novel represents a typical case of a metafiction, that is a fiction that has fiction itself as its subject.

Since in the above sentence of the novel the property of being a fictional object is assigned to the character that sentence deals with, this property would have to be a nuclear property of that fictional entity. But, as such a character is a fictum with the same right as Hamlet and Don Quixote, that property would also have to be an extranuclear property of that entity.

So, this property would at the same time be a nuclear and an extranuclear property. As a result, no distinction between kinds of property would any longer subsist. One and the same property, being a fictional object, pertains both internally and externally to the same character. Therefore, there may well be a one-sentence story that says: 2 Once upon a time there was an individual having no property.

Uninviting as it may be, this is a story like any other. Yet, if we step outside the story, it is simply be false that such a fictional entity has no property, for it has precisely at least the property of having no property. As a result, it would be not only the case that one property, having no property, is at the same time both nuclear and extranuclear.

More problematically, that fictum would at the same time possess the property of having no property for this is assigned to it in the story and not possess it for it is false that it has no property. One and the same property, the 62 For a similar problem, cf. Priest 83—4. For this notion of a second-order property clearly distinct from the one regarding properties of properties , cf. Kim 19— Again following a suggestion from Meinong,65it may be claimed that, for every extranuclear property, there is a watered-down depotenzierte nuclear property corresponding to it.

As many have noted, this answer seems highly ad hoc. What exactly is, say, the watered-down property corresponding to the allegedly extranuclear property of being a fictional object? In respect of ficta, this perplexity is increased by the fact that there is no explanation for why some of the properties assigned to a fictum within a story have to be watered-down nuclear properties. Suppose there were another metafictional story starting with the sentence: 3 Once upon a time there was a fictional golden mountain.

The point is that the existent present King of France is a Meinongian object which exists internally but fails to exist externally in the sense that externally it fails to exist spatiotemporally. He says that that one must distinguish between the property of being existent that the existent present King of France possesses and the property of existing which the King lacks. Parsons 42—4. Parsons himself In fact, Parsons seems to admit that a distinction should sometimes be drawn between including a property and having it In my view, this distinction seems equivalent to the distinction between internal and external predication.

Russell When considering ficta, moreover, being ad hoc is not the most difficult problem that the appeal to watered-down nuclear properties has to face. Once we have watered-down nuclear properties, nothing prevents us from imagining a more complicated both metafictional and paradoxical story starting with the following sentence: 4 Once upon a time there was both a fictional and a watered-down fictional object. Now what can this property be? Suffice it to consider another story starting with the sentence: 5 Once upon a time there was a fictional, a watered-down fictional, and a doubly watered-down fictional object.

I owe this remark to Francesco Orilia. Yet at this point it seems that a further question arises. Taken as sets of properties, Meinongian objects, and hence fictional entities, possess both nuclear properties—those properties which belong to such sets—and extranuclear properties—those properties which do not belong to such sets. The answer is that this position is not only possible, but highly recommendable. In fact, it is adopted in order to account for how a Meinongian object can possess properties differently from an ordinary object. But if one does not allow Meinongian objects one can peacefully dismiss the distinction.

Yet once a Neo-Meinongian abstractionist endorses the set-theoretical proposal, it becomes clear what it means for a property to be internally vs. Internal predication is nothing other than set-membership: a property is internally possessed by an object iff it belongs to the property set which constitutes it. This is what normally happens with ordinary individuals, which are not sets; but it may happen with sets as well. This is external predication. In other words, a sentence is analytically true iff the property that is the meaning of its predicative term belongs to the set that is the meaning of its singular term.

Now, if saying of a fictional object that it has a certain property internally is equivalent to saying that this property belongs to the set constituting that object, then what is analytically true is the sentence asserting that this property is possessed internally by that object. With regard to a property about which the relevant story neither says nor implies that a certain fictum has or lacks it, it is false to state both that the fictum has it internally and that the fictum has its complement internally since neither the property nor the complement belong to the set constituting this fictum.

Consequently, the fictum is incomplete. The Insufficiency of the Neo-Meinongian Abstractionist Position I will now summarize the results obtained so far in respect of the best Neo-Meinongian abstractionist theory of fictional entities, which could be described as an assemblage of parts of those Neo-Meinongian abstractionist theories actually presented in the literature. See next section. The Committal Theories I 31 abstract entities explains their nonexistence in that it takes them to be actually but non-spatiotemporally existing entities.

Furthermore, making them into sets of properties—those properties which are assigned to them in the relevant narration—rather than generic objects accounts more effectively both for their being incomplete entities and for the analytical character of the sentences in which these properties are ascribed to them. Moreover, taking those properties to be ascribed to ficta in the internal mode of presentation allows us to explain why one and the same property can be possessed both by an actually spatiotemporally existing object and by an actually non-spatiotemporally existing object such as a fictum.

For the actually spatiotemporally existing object possesses externally what the fictum possesses at least internally. Although external predication is ordinary exemplification, as regards both ficta and actually spatiotemporally existing individuals internal predication is just set-membership: a property is possessed internally by a fictum iff it belongs to the property set that constitutes that fictum.

These are all positive results, ones that a satisfactory theory of fictional objects must include. Yet they are insufficient. Being a certain set of properties is definitely a necessary condition for the individuation of a fictum since the set is one of its constituents; change the set and you obtain a different fictum. In this respect, two problems arise.

Second, one and the same property set may be 73 For this thesis, cf. Let me address them in turn. The attentive reader will have noticed that in dealing with the NeoMeinongian abstractionist theories of fictional objects, although I have always tried to focus on these entities, the results obtained hold also for Meinongian objects in general. In fact, the best Neo-Meinongian abstractionist theory will hold that a Meinongian object is a set of properties at least internally predicated of it. Take the following example. However, that set is not identical with a fictional character because within the realm of fictional characters there is no such entity as Moloch.

That is, if a fiction effectively narrates that certain properties are possessed by an individual, then the set containing all those properties coincides with a fictional entity. Yet this reply just moves the issue one step back. Since the NeoMeinongian abstractionist says that the properties which turn a set of properties into a fictional object are the properties mobilized in a fiction, the difficulty is that there may well be one and the same set of properties mobilized by another fiction and different characters.

It is not only the case that a set of properties does not by itself generate any fictum; it may also be that it matches more than one fictum. Suppose one idealizes this case so that not only is Menard taken to be totally unconnected with Cervantes neither knows anything about the other , but 74 Which I borrow from Kripke The Committal Theories I 33 the two literary works mobilized by such texts are imagined to coincide not only in their explicit but also in their implicit truths.

Or one may even suppose that Menard does not live some centuries after Cervantes but is his completely unknown next-door neighbor. In that case, one and the same set of properties matches different characters. It would be useless for the Neo-Meinongian abstractionist to appeal to the fact that the properties in question are mobilized in a fiction. For such a mobilization yields different characters. Notwithstanding their spatial difference, Earthians and Twin-Earthians may well share the same mathematics. Hence, Earthians may conceive of the very same set-theoretical entities that are conceived of by Twin-Earthians.

In particular, if Earthians comprehend a certain set of properties, the set constituted by the same properties that TwinEarthians comprehend is the same. Yet it would be hard to admit that they share the same fictional characters and, more generally, the same fictional 75 All this is, of course, hard to maintain in the real Borges example, where Menard not only is well aware of Cervantes oddly enough, he intends to compose the very same literary work as Cervantes did , but also lives some centuries later.

To my knowledge, Currie 77—8 was the first to raise this problem. Moreover, in order for the expected idealization to hold, the involved ficta must also share all their relational properties. For a repeat of this objection, see Fine and Thomasson Being constituted by a set of properties is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for the individuation of a fictum.

There must be something over and above being a certain set of properties that makes an entity a fictional entity, and so different ficta may correspond to one and the same property set. If this is the case, one might think that the best Neo-Meinongian abstractionist conception of ficta can survive in a weak form. It is true that for the above reasons a fictum cannot be a set; but it can be something like a setcorrelate. I take this to be a weakening of a Neo-Meinongian abstractionist theory of ficta.

Yet it is still closer to the actual Neo-Meinongian theories than the above conception. We have already seen that Neo-Meinongian theories are committed to some version or other of the Principle of the Freedom of Assumption. According to that principle, for any collection of properties there is a Meinongian object that has those properties. As a result, a Meinongian object is really a correlate of a property set rather than such a set itself. As stated in the previous section, the set-theoretical Neo-Meinongians favor a conception of Meinongian objects as set-correlates rather than mere sets.

These properties are therefore internally predicated of the guise. Rapaport and Parsons 18 and n. To say that a set of properties exists, that is, that all its properties are located in space-time, is not to say that the guise constituted by this set exists. Generally speaking, I take a set-correlate such as a guise to be an abstract-based entity rather than a concrete one. But let me put this issue to one side. For the weakening of the best Neo-Meinongian abstractionist theory of fictional entities seems to constitute a real improvement over this theory by claiming that, though a fictum is indeed constituted by a property set, it is something over and above that set.

As a result, our two previous problems unfortunately return in a new form. So again the question arises: how can those guises which are fictional entities be singled out from the general domain of guises? It is clear that the individuator is unable to do this because it limits itself to the general function of converting a set into a guise.

Thus, we can have a guise or, in general, a one-one set-correlate and yet fail to have a fictional entity. I have criticized this conviction in Voltolini Orilia takes the operator as a concretizer since he sees it as representing a mental operation acting directly on properties On this point, cf. Orilia —9. I owe this suggestion to Francesco Orilia. Yet the conception of guises as one-one set-correlates outlined by weak Neo-Meinongian abstractionism is still not sufficient to give us fictional entities.

Therefore, in order to see what makes an entity a fictional entity, one has to look to other factors beyond both the set-theoretical and the guise-theoretical ones. Two such factors immediately come to mind. It is to these factors that we now turn. Synopsis In this chapter I devote my attention to the evaluation of the alternative abstractionist conception of fictional entities, namely the artifactualist theory.

This theory takes ficta to be entities that depend both in a rigid and a historical way on the specific mental acts of their creators and in a generic and constant manner on the literary works in which they appear. I agree that this theory is able to solve the problems left unresolved by the best NeoMeinongian abstractionist doctrine, but I try to point out some of its drawbacks.

It is now time to evaluate a partially new approach to fictional entities. Up to now, ficta have been conceived in terms of a, broadly speaking, Platonic model of what an abstract entity is. According to this model, an abstract entity is an atemporal being as its non-spatiotemporal existence suggests. Finally, as is suggested by its lack of interaction with concrete actual entities, it exists non-spatiotemporally not only in the real world but also in all the possible worlds: it is a necessary being.

Mathematical entities are typical examples of this model of abstractness; but types satisfy it as well as Plato claimed in developing his theory of ideas. So, inasmuch as ficta are taken to be either one-one correlates of sets or generic objects, they are also taken to be one-one correlates of abstract entities of the same kind. Nonetheless, intuitively speaking, ficta do not seem to fit this model. It may be the case that mathematical entities and types exist independently of concrete entities and in particular of human beings.

Could a spiritless world—specifically, a world without human beings—be a world in which Hamlet and Holmes are freely floating entities along with the number 4 and the classes that are members of themselves or with the Bold and the Beautiful? Moreover, again unlike abstract Platonic entities, ficta are often described as creations of human minds, as products of human fantasy. Not only, if there are no humans, there is no Hamlet; but also, if nobody had conceived and correspondingly verbalized, written or performed Hamlet, once again there would be no Hamlet.

Whereas, if Plato is right, neither the number 4 nor the Beautiful needs a soul to activate it. The Committal Theories II 39 Undoubtedly, however, this intuition does not mean that the abstractionist conception of fictional entities has to be abandoned. It merely means that ficta do not fit the model of what Edmund Husserl would call free idealities, namely abstracta having the Platonic features described above.

But the domain of abstracta is not exhausted by free idealities. There are also what Husserl labelled bound idealities, namely abstracta that depend for their existence on the existence of other beings. Wherever we go, we never encounter the species homo, but only specimens of it. Nor could we: it is an abstract entity, a being that exists in a non-spatiotemporal way.

Yet this species exists only insofar as there are specimens of it: in a world with no humans, the species would not exist. Moreover, the species must be such that it exists as soon as a specimen of it, a concrete human being, happens to exist if Charles Darwin is right, the species has not always existed but came into existence as soon as its first specimen was born. This will be a doctrine that does not take ficta to be one-one correlates of free idealities, as Neo-Meinongians do, but rather bound idealities. According to this theory, ficta depend for their existence on the existence of other beings, on human mental acts.

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More precisely, they depend on them not only metaphysically, but also temporally. Moreover, temporal dependence on mental acts makes it possible to see ficta as constructed abstract objects. Lastly, since they are constructed entities, they may be thought of as abstract artifacts. This doctrine was first defended by Roman Ingarden5 and then by several scholars on different occasions.

Husserl In point of fact, it is controversial that species are bound idealities. One might say instead that they are like types, for which existence means instantiation. Yet my point is completely independent of this issue. Ingarden In fact, Ingarden prompted Husserl to revise his original theory of abstracta and to allow for bound idealities.

So, it is to the evaluation of this theory that I now turn. To begin with, Thomasson openly acknowledges that a fictum is an abstract entity: no spatiotemporal location can be truthfully attributed to it. Following a widespread tradition, Thomasson elucidates existential dependence in modal terms: saying that the existence of one entity depends on the existence of another entity amounts to saying that the first entity cannot exist unless the second exists. But Thomasson enriches this traditional account by specifying dependence as such in a variety of ways.

First of all, dependence can be either rigid or generic. The former is dependence on a particular individual: the dependent entity cannot exist unless a particular individual exists. This is a specific dependence: an object depends on another particular entity for its existence. The latter, in contrast, is dependence on something of a particular type: the dependent entity cannot exist unless something of a particular type exists. A fictum depends rigidly on the particular mental act of the author of the fiction that talks of it: if that act did not exist, the fictum would not exist either.

Thomasson Thomasson 36—7. By taking ficta to be historically and, as will be seen below, also constantly dependent on other entities, Thomasson allows for ficta to have temporal features.

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Yet to allow for ficta to have an, albeit generic, location seems utterly counterintuitive. Would we be prepared to say that two ficta have switched places if the communities that respectively brought them into existence had exchanged settlements? For both kinds of dependencies, see also Mulligan-Smith —8. And if at the times when the Bible was written there had been someone who had conceived of and, accordingly, included in a book of the Bible Moloch as the protagonist of the story we erroneously think of as really found in the Bible. Let us recall the idealized case of Pierre Menard: two syntactically identical texts written by two totally unconnected individuals, Cervantes and Pierre Menard.

Yet Thomasson does not go in this direction. Certainly, as we have seen, she acknowledges with NeoMeinongian abstractionists that a fictum is an abstract being. But, in her view, the fact that there is something a fictional entity historically depends on, that a fictum is an entity which comes into being as a result of something happening, shows that a fictum is nothing like a set. Indeed, for Thomasson a fictum is an artifact, though an abstract one; it is a product of human culture, such as games, institutions and laws.

At this point, it must be explained what makes a fictum remain in being once it has come into existence through being thought of by its creator. If a fictum were a set, this issue would not even arise. As we saw, by borrowing the Platonic conception of mathematical entities one might claim that, qua set, a fictum—like a number—is an atemporal being.

Thus, it 12 13 This is the solution suggested by Kripke Thomasson herself 6—7, Nonetheless, from the artifactualist perspective a fictum is no set at all, but rather an entity that comes into existence at a certain point in history by being thought of by its creator. Let me call this the persistence problem. In order to address this problem, Thomasson advances her second substantive claim: over and above its rigid historical dependence on a given mental act of its creator, a fictum also depends generically and constantly on a literary work or other in which it is mentioned.

In order for a fictum to exist, therefore, there must be a narration that speaks of that fictum. Moreover, this generic dependence is also constant. It is clear how such a claim enables Thomasson to solve the persistence problem. A fictum continues in being as long as there is a work that numbers it among its elements.

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In its turn, a literary work generically and constantly depends on a copy of itself. An obvious consequence of this position is that a fictum is perishable. Suppose that every copy of every work in which a certain fictum is mentioned ceases to exist; that all the physical copies of those works are destroyed and all memories of the fictum fade into oblivion. The result is that the fictional entity itself also vanishes from existence. Thomasson 36, 65—6.

To be more precise, for Thomasson even a mental remembering of a work may suffice in order for that work to be kept in existence. She would in fact remark that, once copies are taken to be semantically interpreted entities, there is no need for them to exist in the outer rather than in the inner world as memories, qua mental acts endowed with content, do.

As stated previously, I take species to be an illuminating case of bound idealities, of abstract dependent entities. Now, just as it originates when its first specimen comes into being, a species ceases to exist as soon as its last specimen dies out. The Drawbacks of the Artifactualist Abstractionist Conception Up to this point, I have sketched a paradigm which is partially an alternative to the best Neo-Meinongian abstractionist conception of fictional beings.

It is now time to see whether such merits give the artifactualist abstractionist theory a real advantage over the best Neo-Meinongian abstractionist conception. I do not in fact think that they do. Finally and most perplexingly, even if that doctrine is taken to provide the necessary conditions for the identity of a fictional entity, it fails to offer convincing sufficient conditions for its existence.

As a result, it risks providing no real basis for its ontologically realist stance on ficta as abstract artifacts. Let me address these issues in turn. A fictum does not exist in the sense that it does not exist spatiotemporally, or, amounting to the same 18 Cf. To show that this is the case, a short digression is required. To begin with, it will be remembered from the previous chapter that the idea that a fictum possesses the properties ascribed to it in the relevant narration can seem perplexing.

Thomasson, on the contrary, appears to answer this question in the negative. Because a fictum is an abstract artifact, it cannot have the properties that real concrete individuals possess. As she says, it is literally not true that Hamlet is a prince. First of all, she draws a distinction between two kinds of sentential contexts in which a property is predicated of a certain fictum. In her view, one and the same sentence can be understood both from the perspective of a real context and from that of a fictional context; that is, both with respect to a concrete section of the real world and with respect to an abstract section of the same 19 Cf.

On this issue there is a slight difference between Thomasson and Neo-Meinongians. On the one hand, the Neo-Meinongians tend to interpret the distinction between abstracta and other actualia in terms of their possession of different firstorder properties: abstracta subsist, that is they exist non-spatiotemporally or, alternatively, merely bring about effects, whereas other actualia exist tout court, that is they exist spatiotemporally or, alternatively, both bring about and undergo effects.

On the other hand, Thomasson deals with this existential difference in terms of a contextual restriction of the particular quantifier which for her has only an existentially loaded import. When one says that there are entities of a certain kind, one may take the quantifier to be either unrestricted—as bounding a variable that ranges over any entity whatsoever—or restricted— as bounding a variable that ranges only over spatiotemporally existent beings.

So, when one says that there are such things as fictional beings, one is making a true statement if the quantifier is understood in the unrestricted sense, but a false statement if it is used in the restricted sense ibid. Certainly, some—perhaps most—Neo-Meinongians admit that when we say that there are no fictional entities, we are contextually restricting the particular quantifier to a domain of existents. Yet they stress that if we are to make such a restriction, a first-order property of existence tout court must be available. See the authors quoted in n. Nevertheless, such a difference between the two perspectives is irrelevant for our present purposes.

The Committal Theories II 45 world, a section constituted by the relevant story in which that fictum originally occurred. With respect to the first context this sentence is false, for in the concrete section of our world it is simply not the case that the abstract artifact Hamlet has the property of being a prince. Yet with respect to the second context the sentence is true, for in a certain abstract section of our world, namely the story of Hamlet, the abstract artifact Hamlet does have that property. Indeed, Hamlet says that Hamlet is a prince. Indeed, the situation here is structurally similar to the situation affecting temporal contexts; one and the same sentence, for example: 2 George W.

Bush is president of the USA is evaluated differently with respect to different temporal contexts, say and ; with respect to the first context it is false and with respect to the second it is true. Thus one may say that Bush has the property of being president of USA only relatively; that is, only in the second temporal context.

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It is true that for the above reasons a fictum cannot be a set; but it can be something like a setcorrelate. Salmon, N. The scope of the study can include only general theoretical background, which of necessity involves referring to YHWH in a diachronically generalising and non-nuanced manner and being aware thereof. More precisely, they depend on them not only metaphysically, but also temporally. In other words, the datum might at most point to a cognitive, rather than a semantic, sense of analyticity. Home About us Subjects Contacts. All you need to do is learn new things and then you can talk about them.

However, Thomasson adds that to say truly with respect to a fictional context that a fictum has a property ascribed to it by the story which determines that context amounts to saying truly tout court that according to the story that fictum has that property. It is obvious that, for her, the shift from a real to a fictional context does not induce any shift in the meaning of a sentence; rather, the contextual shift is relevant only in that it may alter the truth value of the sentence.

Thomasson —7. Saying that with respect to a possible world w, an object possesses the absolute property of being P is the same as saying that this same object possesses absolutely the world-relative property of being P-in-w. At first sight, one might say that whereas the latter position distinguishes between nuclear and extranuclear properties, Thomasson distinguishes between story-relative and storynonrelative, namely absolute, properties. According to them, a fictum genuinely possesses not only nuclear but also extranuclear properties.

Thomasson, in contrast, thinks that a fictum genuinely possesses only story-relative properties. Absolute properties, which for her are not extranuclear properties but just the de-relativized counterparts of the story-relative properties, are properties that the fictum possesses only relatively, that is, with respect to the appropriate fictional context. This view is correct. In distinguishing between real and fictional contexts, Thomasson not only says that ficta possess certain properties with respect to 26 Cf.

Plantinga On this distinction, see Smith Moreover, one must say that for Thomasson to say truly with respect to a real context that a fictum possesses one such property is again tantamount to saying truly that, according to reality that is, according to the concrete part of our world , that fictum possesses that property. The reader might wonder how one can integrate these obviously incompatible theories into a single theory without inconsistency. First, as he himself makes clear at the very outset, his theory is committal. The noncommittal element comes in only insofar as Voltolini acknowledges that there are noncommittal uses of fictional names and sentences, namely the uses of fictional discourse.

This, however, seems to be fairly undisputed even among advocates of those kinds of committal theories Voltolini discusses in Part I of the book with the exception of Amie Thomasson. For Voltolini, fictitious objects are contingent beings that are created by the authors of fictional stories through acts of storytelling and thus come into being at a certain moment in history.

These elements are, on the one hand, the make-believe process-type in which it is pretended that there is a typically concrete individual that has certain properties and, on the other, a set of properties. As shall be seen shortly, however, this is not yet the full picture.

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But since the additional element of the full picture is motivated by a particular difficulty that Voltolini sees with this provisional characterization, I shall stick to the latter one for a moment. Voltolini continues the outline of his theory as follows:. This is the set of the properties corresponding to the properties that are directly or indirectly mobilized in a certain process of make-believe, that is, the process of storytelling in which one makes believe that a certain, typically concrete, individual explicitly or implicitly possesses precisely the properties in question.

But identity of constituting property sets is not a sufficient condition for the identity of fictitious objects. That is, there may be distinct characters that share exactly the same internal properties. Furthermore, the existence of a particular set of properties is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for the existence of a fictitious object that has this set as one of its constituents.

Therefore, storytellers can rightly be considered to be creators of fictitious objects. Storytelling processes involve mental acts but are not reducible to these Assume that a storyteller tells a certain story that has never been told by anyone before, and immediately after the end of the storytelling process passes away. Consider the following passages that throw some light on this line of thought:.

As I remarked in the previous chapter, if the participant s in one such [storytelling] process ceased to exist as soon as that process came to an end, so that no trace of the process remained, no fictional entity would emerge from it. This does not depend on the fact that such a process is private for a make-believe game may well be in fact, typically is intersubjective.

Rather, it depends on the fact that pretending is just pretending.

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That is, pretending is an activity in which one may make believe that there are plenty of typically concrete individuals. Yet pretending that there are such individuals does not mean that there really are such things, nor that there really are abstract entities related to those individuals in some way. Therefore, by merely pretending that there is a typically concrete individual, no fictional individual comes into being.

In this respect, an existentially creative make-believe process is like a dream. In an existentially creative dream, one imagines that there are many concrete individuals; yet these individuals have no being at all outside the context of the dream itself. Over and above the oneiric fantasy that there are such concrete individuals, there are no further phantasmic entities that the dream is concerned with.

That is, dreams have no magical power to generate phantasmic entities. Likewise, neither do make-believe processes have any magical power to generate fictional entities. Admittedly, dreams are intrasubjective processes whereas make-believe games are intersubjective but, if one wishes to do so, it [is] possible to treat them as collective dreams. This locution occurs several times see, for instance, also 86 but it is nowhere defined. An alternative formulation for the alleged relationship between property set and storytelling process is contained in the following:.

The modes of predication distinction allows giving an account of this particular feature of fictitious objects that is compatible with the principle of excluded middle. Although fictitious objects come into being at a certain moment in history, once they have been created, they cannot cease to exist. See 92f.

In a series of stories, a character of episode 1 cannot be identical with a character of episode 2 or any other episode. However, Voltolini admits that sometimes we refer to a character without having a particular episode in mind. We may refer, for instance, to Sherlock Holmes, without having any particular Holmes story in mind.

As I just said, this general Holmes consists of the protracted make-believe process-type occurring throughout the storytelling of the whole cycle of the Holmes stories, together with the set of all the properties corresponding to those invoked in that protracted process. Fictitious objects are constituents of stories. Stories are sets of states of affairs. See , in particular note on p. It is quite a simple argument. If we admit a certain kind of entity, we cannot but admit all the other kinds of entities that figure in the identity conditions of such an entity.

We admit fictional works; so we cannot but also admit fictional objects because they figure in the identity conditions of fictional works. I shall come back to this argument at the end of the next section. I agree with most of what is said in this book. I also wholeheartedly agree with the abstract artefactuality thesis, i. It seems to me that it is not.

As far as I can see, it is nowhere reflected in our ordinary thinking and speaking about fictitious characters; rather to the contrary. We may think of fictitious characters as quite complex entities, but do we think of them as something that consists of entities that belong to different categories?

This is doubtful. By contrast, it seems natural to consider fictitious characters as types of persons, animals etc. This seems to be something that is implicit in our ordinary thinking about fictitious characters. The following may highlight the point of counterintuitiveness: It seems that one can truthfully apply certain predicates to a storytelling process type which one cannot truthfully apply to a fictitious character. For instance, one might truthfully say of a storytelling process type that an instantiation of it takes at least three hours.

To say of a character that an instantiation of it takes at least three hours, however, is at best wrong and at worst nonsensical. Of course, in principle, a part of a composite whole may have properties that the whole lacks. But it seems also odd to say that a part of a character is such that its instantiation takes at least three hours. Moreover, storytelling process types may be instantiated. This, again, seems odd to say. It is not odd to say, of course, that Pegasus, the mythical character, can be instantiated. It is just odd to say that storytelling processes are instantiations of parts of Pegasus.

A wingless horse seems to be a better candidate for an instantiation of a part of Pegasus than a storytelling process. As has been said in the previous paragraph, characters are instantiable. But, intuitively, they are instantiable as a whole unless they have contradictory internal properties. As it stands, the theory entails a commitment to properties, sets and types — although at one point, Voltolini seems to try to circumvent the commitment to types by claiming that one could interpret storytelling process types as sets of storytelling process tokens see note 22 on p.

However, the claim that fictitious objects are property sets plus storytelling process types is obviously not equivalent with the claim that fictitious objects are property sets plus sets of storytelling process tokens. Thus, a theory that implies the former claim is substantially different from one that implies the latter; i. Given that the elements of a set must be actually existing entities, the set of storytelling processes which is a constituent of C would be the empty set during t1—tn.

But the empty set is clearly distinct from any non-empty set. Moreover, a set that has one element is distinct from a set that has two elements etc. As was said above, Voltolini holds that there may be distinct fictitious objects that share exactly the same internal properties.

In other words, it is a theory which firmly acknowledges that the various other theories already developed on this subject have great merits. Their main flaw, however, is not that they are wrong but, rather, that they are inc- plete. Accordingly, they are not to be put to one side; instead, they need to be integrated into a single theory that aims both to maintain their positive results and to overcome their defects.