Article/Publication Details

A Revisionary View of Texts, Textual Meaning, and Fictional Characters

Organon F, 2017, vol. 24, No 3, pp. 366-383.
Language: English
File to download: PDF*

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Abstract

Using ideas from John Searle, Roy Harris, Michael Reddy, and Nelson Goodman, I argue that texts, such as they are commonly conceived, lack brute existence. The common idea of texts is a conceptual construction which is useful in practical everyday contexts but not in serious theorizing, where it creates illusions and contradictions. One of these illusions is the idea of an objective textual meaning, a meaning which is “in the text”: what we actually have in the way of textual meaning are the ideas of various persons – authors, readers, and commentators – about the meaning of the text. When applied to fictional characters, this way of viewing things explains why it makes sense to regard fictional characters as being created and as lacking brute existence.

Keywords

fictional characters, John Searle, Roy Harris, textual meaning, the ontology of texts

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