Lewis on Truth in Fiction
Manuel Garcia-Carpintero will be giving a talk entitled “Lewis on Truth in Fiction” at the Virtual International Consortium of Truth Research on February 1, 2021 at 10:00 am EDT.
Abstract: In his classic paper “Truth in Fiction” (1978), Lewis offers an account of ascriptions to content to fictions that seems to assume the sort of account of fictions themselves offered by John Searle in “The Logical Status of Fictional Discourse” (1974/5). Searle argued that fictions don’t result from dedicated, sui generis acts (or, equivalently, are not dedicated, sui generis artefacts) like assertions, questions or directives; they just result from pretenses of acts like those. This “mere pretense” view of fiction had been defended earlier by MacDonald (1954) and Gale (1971), and has been defended later by others such as Hoffman (2004) or Alward (2009); Predelli (2020) has recently forcefully reconstructed and defended it. The role pretense plays in the “Mere Pretense” view should be distinguished from the appeal to pretense as one of the means by which fiction-makers create their fictions in the “dedicated representation” views of Walton, Currie and others. In this paper I’ll confront the arguments by Searle, Lewis, Predelli, and others in defense of (my own version of) the dedicated artefact view. I’ll elaborate in my own terms on what I take to be a decisive objection: to wit, that the Searlian view is implausibly committed to there being fictional narrators in all fictions, tellers who present to as the character of the fictional world “as known fact”.
If you are interested in attending, please email VICTRgroup@gmail.com for details about the zoom link.