The question of Fiction – nonexistent objects, a possible world response from Paul Ricoeur

  • 1 Head of Research, College of Arts and Tourism, Dean of Graduate School of Creative Arts and Media, Dublin Institute of Technology

Abstract

The question of fiction is omnipresent within the work of Paul Ricoeur throughout his prolific career. However, Ricoeur raises the questions of fiction in relation to other issues such the symbol, metaphor and narrative. This article sets out to foreground a traditional problem of fiction and logic, which is termed the existence of non-existent objects, in relation to the Paul Ricoeur’s work on narrative. Ricoeur’s understanding of fiction takes place within his overall philosophical anthropology where the fictions and histories make up the very nature of identity both personal and collective. The existence of non-existent objects demonstrates a dichotomy between fiction and history, non-existent objects can exist as fictional objects. The very possibility of the existence of fictional objects entails ontological status considerations. What ontological status do fictional objects have? Ricoeur develops a concept of narrative configuration which is akin to the Kantian productive imagination and configuration frames the question historical narrative and fictional narrative. It is demonstrated that the ontological status of fictional objects can be best understood in a model of possible worlds.

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