Fictional Content

  • 1 Department of Philosophy, Milan, Italy


It is usually taken for granted that a necessary condition for knowing that P is the truth of P. It may therefore be claimed that if we assume that we gain some kind of knowledge through fiction (let us call it fictional knowledge) of P*, then P* should be true—in at least a certain sense. My hypothesis is that this assumption grounds the different ways adopted by philosophers for attributing truth-conditions to fictional sentences. My claim in this work is that fictional sentences do not have truth-values and truth-conditions, but I want to maintain that we gain some kind of knowledge through fiction: to this aim, I will characterize the objective content of fictional sentences not in terms of truth-conditions (which are usually described by appealing to rules of the language or rules of interpretation of language independent of the actual users), but in dispositional terms and I will define a necessary condition for fictional knowledge accordingly.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • Berto, Francesco. 2011. Modal Meinongianism and fiction: the best of three worlds. Philosophical Studies 152: 313–34.

  • Brock, Stuart. 2002. Fictionalism about fictional characters. Noûs 36(1): 1–21.

  • Fine, Kit. 1982. The problem of non-existents, I: internalism. Topoi 1: 97–140.

  • Frege, Gottlob. 1892. On Sinn and Bedeutung. In The Frege Reader, ed. by Michael Beaney. Oxford: Blackwell, 1997, pp. 151–171.

  • Kripke, Saul. 2013. Reference and Existence, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Lewis, David. 1978. Truth in fiction. American Philosophical Quarterly 15: 37–46; reprinted in D. Lewis, Philosophical Papers, vol. 1, New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1983, pp. 261–75.

  • Lowe, Jonathan E. 1994. Vague identity and quantum indeterminacy. Analysis 54(2): 110–14.

  • Parsons, Terence; and Woodruff, Peter. 1995. Worldly indeterminacy of identity. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 95: 171–91.

  • Parsons, Terence. 1980. Nonexistent Objects. New Haven: Yale University Press.

  • Priest, Graham. 2005. Towards Non-Being, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Rapaport, William J. 1978. Meinongian theories and a Russellian paradox. Noûs 12: 153–80.

  • Routley, Richard. 1980. Exploring Meinong’s Jungle and Beyond. Canberra: Australian National University.

  • Russell, Bertrand. 1905. On denoting. Mind 14: 479–93.

  • Sainsbury, R. Mark. 2010. Fiction and Fictionalism. London: Routledge.

  • Thomasson, Amie L. 2003. Speaking of fictional characters. Dialectica 57: 205–23.

  • Walton, Kendall. 1990. Mimesis as Make-Believe. Cambridge (MA): Harvard University Press.

  • Zalta, Edward N. 1983. Abstract Objects. Dordrecht: Reidel Publishing Company.


Journal + Issues