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Fiction and Metaphysics
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  • 9 b/w illus.
  • Page extent: 188 pages
  • Size: 216 x 138 mm
  • Weight: 0.39 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 111
  • Dewey version: 21
  • LC Classification: BC199.F5 T48 1999
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Fictions, Theory of
    • Metaphysics

Library of Congress Record


 (ISBN-13: 9780521640800 | ISBN-10: 0521640806)

This challenging study places fiction squarely at the centre of the discussion of metaphysics. Philosophers have traditionally treated fiction as involving a set of narrow problems in logic or the philosophy of language. By contrast Amie Thomasson argues that fiction has far-reaching implications for central problems of metaphysics. The book develops an 'artifactual' theory of fiction, whereby fictional characters are abstract artifacts as ordinary as laws or symphonies or works of literature. By understanding fictional characters we come to understand how other cultural and social objects are established on the basis of the independent physical world and the mental states of human beings.

• Not just for students of metaphysics - the book contains plenty of literary examples and will interest literary scholars • Connects the problem of how to understand fictional characters to the general problem of understanding social and cultural objects (e.g. works of art, inventions, computer programs, etc.)


Introduction: from fiction into metaphysics; Part I. The Artifactual Theory of Fiction: Foreword; 1. If we postulated fictional objects, what would they be?; 2. The nature and varieties of existential dependence; 3. Fictional characters as abstract artifacts; 4. Reference to fictional characters; 5. Identity conditions for fictional characters; Part II. Ontological Decisions: Foreword; 6. Fiction and experience; 7. Fiction and language; 8. Ontology and categorization; 9. The perils of false parsimony; 10. An ontology for a varied world; Notes; Bibliography.

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