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January 23 , 2009

Fiction and Fictionalism


Are fictional characters such as Sherlock Holmes real? What can fiction tell us about the nature of truth and reality? In this excellent introduction to the problem of fictionalism R. M. Sainsbury covers the following key topics:

  • what is fiction?
  • realism about fictional objects, including the arguments that fictional objects are real but non-existent; real but non-factual; real but non-concrete
  • the relationship between fictional characters and non-actual worlds
  • fictional entities as abstract artefacts
  • fiction and intentionality and the problem of irrealism
  • fictionalism about possible worlds
  • moral fictionalism.

R. M. Sainsbury makes extensive use of examples from fiction, such as Sherlock Holmes, Anna Karenina and Madame Bovary and examines the work of philosophers who have made significant contributions to the topic, including Meinong, David Lewis, and Bas Van Fraassen. Additional features include chapter summaries, annotated further reading and a glossary of technical terms, making Fiction and Fictionalism ideal for those coming to the issue for the first time.

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