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Stephen Yablo

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199266487

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199266487.001.0001

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Go Figure: A Path through Fictionalism

Go Figure: A Path through Fictionalism

(p.177) 7 Go Figure: A Path through Fictionalism

Stephen Yablo (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter distinguishes several grades of fictionalism about an area of discourse. Instrumentalists think we assert nothing with a sentence S of the relevant type. Meta-fictionalists have us asserting that S is true in the story or pretendable in the game. Object-fictionalists think we assert that F, where F is the real-world fact that makes (or would make) S pretendable in the game. Relative fictionalists think we assert either the real-world fact already mentioned or an as-if fact about the world we pretend we're in when playing the game, or possibly a different game. Figuralists think we assert S's metaphorical content, which may be a relative content as just described. Arguments for the figuralist approach are adduced, among them the light it sheds on a famous objection to modal fictionalism posed by Brock and Rosen and made general by O'Leary–Hawthorne and Nolan.

Keywords:   fictionalism, instrumentalism, Figuralism, metaphor, indispensability, Quine, O'Leary–Hawthorne, Nolan, Brock-Rosen objection

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