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Talking About NothingNumbers, Hallucinations and Fictions$
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Jody Azzouni

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199738946

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199738946.001.0001

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(p.110) 3 Fictions
Talking About Nothing

Jody Azzouni (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Fictional discourse, this chapter shows, is a truth-apt discourse that’s supported on and defers to what may be described as a pretence (or story-telling) practice that isn’t truth-apt. Nevertheless, truth-apt fictional discourse is indispensable despite its terms being empty. It’s shown how being clear that such a discourse isn’t required to honor metaphysical facts about fictional objects, but is required to be useful and true can illuminate and make sense of how we talk about fictions. It’s shown how truth-based properties can be attributed to fictional characters—the property of being depicted in such and such a story, for example—and how the identification of fictional entities within works and across works can be made cogent (despite there being no fictional objects, and consequently, fictional objects having no properties).

Keywords:   truth aptness, pretence, external discourse demand, depiction, identity conditions, fictional characters, Meinongianism, deferred reference, truth-based properties, quantifying in

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