Article/Publication Details

Fictional Names and Truth

Organon F, 2018, vol. 25, No 1, pp. 74-99.
Language: English
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By addressing fictional names head on, we risk going back to familiar, ordinary names intuitions and missing what is specific about them. I propose a different strategy. My view is grounded on fictional name sentence utterances and on indexed tokens of such sentences, where an index contains the fictional narrator and the time and location of the token. Using the framework of pluri-propositionalism (Perry 2012), I argue that the semantic relation of reference – ‘x’ refers to y - where ‘x’ is a name, rather than the notion of an object, is central to the debate on fictional names. I also contend that fictional names do not enter into that relation. Tokens of fictional names are individuated with the fictional index of the sentence they originate from. This allows for dispensing with a referent. Indexed fictional name sentence tokens have semantically determined truth conditions, yet they are not truth assessed given facts. In this respect, they have cognitive significance only, and no official or referential content. Indexed fictional name token of sentences are accepted as true, but they are not true.


cognitive significance, fiction, names, reference, truth

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