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The force of fictional discourse
Uppsala University, Box 627, Uppsala, Sweden; Universitat de Barcelona, Montalegre 6, Barcelona, Spain.
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of historical, philosophical and religious studies.
2022 (English)In: Synthese, ISSN 0039-7857, E-ISSN 1573-0964, Vol. 200, no 6, article id 474Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Consider the opening sentence of Tolkien's The Hobbit: (1) In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. By writing this sentence, Tolkien is making a fictional statement. There are two influential views of the nature of such statements. On the pretense view, fictional discourse amounts to pretend assertions. Since the author is not really asserting, but merely pretending, a statement such as Tolkien's is devoid of illocutionary force altogether. By contrast, on the alternative make-believe view, fictional discourse prescribes that the reader make-believe the content of the statement. In this paper, we argue that neither of these views is satisfactory. They both fail to distinguish the linguistic act of creating the fiction, for instance Tolkien writing the sentence above, from the linguistic act of reciting it, such as reading The Hobbit out loud for your children. As an alternative to these views, we propose that the essential feature of the author's speech act is its productive character, that it makes some state of affairs obtain in the fiction. Tolkien's statement, we argue, has the illocutionary force of a declaration.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2022. Vol. 200, no 6, article id 474
Keywords [en]
Currie, Fiction, Fictional discourse, Pretense, Speech acts
National Category
Philosophy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-201210DOI: 10.1007/s11229-022-03955-wISI: 000881756600001Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85141868447OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-201210DiVA, id: diva2:1719527
Funder
Umeå UniversitySwedish Research Council, 2019-02905Available from: 2022-12-15 Created: 2022-12-15 Last updated: 2022-12-15Bibliographically approved

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Franzén, Nils

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Citation style
  • apa
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  • vancouver
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  • de-DE
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  • nn-NB
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  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
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