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  • 1.
    Bergman, Karl Gustav
    et al.
    Uppsala University, Box 627, Uppsala, Sweden; Universitat de Barcelona, Montalegre 6, Barcelona, Spain.
    Franzén, Nils
    Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of historical, philosophical and religious studies.
    The force of fictional discourse2022In: Synthese, ISSN 0039-7857, E-ISSN 1573-0964, Vol. 200, no 6, article id 474Article in journal (Refereed)
    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.

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  • 2.
    Franzén, Nils
    Institut für Philosophie, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany; Department of Philosophy, University of Uppsala, Sweden.
    A sensibilist explanation of imaginative resistance2021In: Canadian journal of philosophy, ISSN 0045-5091, E-ISSN 1911-0820, Vol. 51, no 3, p. 159-174Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This article discusses why it is the case that we refuse to accept strange evaluative claims as being true in fictions, even though we are happy to go along with other types of absurdities in such contexts. For instance, we would refuse to accept the following statement as true, even in the context of a fiction: (i) In killing her baby, Giselda did the right thing; after all, it was a girl.

    This article offers a sensibilist diagnosis of this puzzle, inspired by an observation first made by David Hume. According to sensibilism, the way we feel about things settles their evaluative properties. Thus, when confronted with a fictional scenario where the configuration of non-evaluative facts and properties is relevantly similar to the actual world, we refuse to go along with evaluative properties being instantiated according to a different pattern. It is the attitudes we hold in the actual world that fix the extension of evaluative terms, even in nonactual worlds. When engaging with a fiction, we (to some extent) leave our beliefs about what the world is like behind, while taking our emotional attitudes with us into the fiction.

    To substantiate this diagnosis, this paper outlines a sensibilist semantics for evaluative terms based on recent discussion regarding predicates of personal taste, and explains how, together with standard assumptions about the nature of fictional discourse, it makes the relevant predictions with respect to engagement with fictions.

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  • 3.
    Franzén, Nils
    Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden.
    Aesthetic evaluation and first-hand experience2018In: Australasian Journal of Philosophy, ISSN 0004-8402, E-ISSN 1471-6828, Vol. 96, no 4, p. 669-682Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Evaluative aesthetic discourse communicates that the speaker has had first-hand experience of what is talked about. If you call a book bewitching, it will be assumed that you have read the book. If you say that a building is beautiful, it will be assumed that you have had some visual experience with it. According to an influential view, this is because knowledge is a norm for assertion, and aesthetic knowledge requires first-hand experience. This paper criticizes this view and argues for an alternative view, according to which aesthetic discourse expresses affective states of mind, analogously to how assertions express beliefs. It is because these affective states require first-hand experience that aesthetic discourse communicates that such acquaintance is at hand. The paper furthermore argues that the lack of an experience requirement for aesthetic belief ascriptions constitutes a problem for the kind of expressivist who claims that evaluative belief states are covert non-cognitive states.

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  • 4.
    Franzén, Nils
    Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden.
    Evaluative discourse and affective states of mind2020In: Mind, ISSN 0026-4423, E-ISSN 1460-2113, Vol. 129, no 516, p. 1095-1126Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    It is widely held within contemporary metaethics that there is a lack of linguistic support for evaluative expressivism. On the contrary, it seems that the predictions that expressivists make about evaluative discourse are not borne out. An instance of this is the so-called problem of missing Moorean infelicity. Expressivists maintain that evaluative statements express non-cognitive states of mind in a similar manner to how ordinary descriptive language expresses beliefs. Conjoining an ordinary assertion that p with the denial of being in the corresponding belief state famously gives rise to Moorean infelicity:

    (i) ?? It’s raining but I don’t believe that it’s raining. 

    If expressivists are right, then conjoining evaluative statements with the denial of being in the relevant non-cognitive state of mind should give rise to similar infelicity. However, as several theorists have pointed out, this does not seem to be the case. Statements like the following are not infelicitous:

    (ii) Murder is wrong but I don’t disapprove of it. 

    In this paper, I argue that evaluative statements express the kind of states that are attributed by ‘find’-constructions in English and that these states are non-cognitive in nature. This addresses the problem of missing Moorean infelicity and, more generally, goes to show that there are linguistic facts which support expressivism about evaluative discourse.

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  • 5.
    Franzén, Nils
    Uppsala university.
    Fictional truth: in defence of the reality principle2021In: The language of fiction / [ed] Emar Maier; Andreas Stokke, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2021, p. 88-106Chapter in book (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    A well-known theory about under which circumstances a statement is true in a fiction is the Reality Principle (RP), which originates in the work of David Lewis: "(RP) Where p1…pn are the primary fictional truths of a fiction F, it is true in F that q iff the following holds: were p1…pn the case, q would have been the case" (Walton 1990, 44). RP has been subjected to a number of counterexamples, up to a point where, in the words of Stacie Friend (2017, 33), "it is widely recognized that the Reality Principle […] cannot be a universal inference rule for implied story-truths". This chapter argues that the strength of these counterexamples is widely overestimated, and that they do not, on closer scrutiny, constitute reasons for rejecting RP.

  • 6.
    Franzén, Nils
    Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of historical, philosophical and religious studies.
    Implicating fictional truth2024In: Philosophical Studies, ISSN 0031-8116, E-ISSN 1573-0883, Vol. 181, no 1, p. 299-317Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Some things that we take to be the case in a fictional work are never made explicit by the work itself. For instance, we assume that Sherlock Holmes does not have a third nostril, that he wears underpants and that he has never solved a case with a purple gnome, even though neither of these things is ever mentioned in the narration. This article argues that examples like these can be accounted for through the same content-enriching reasoning that we employ when confronted with non-fictional discourse, with the important difference that fictional discourse essentially involves pretence. Fictional discourse works in much the same way as non-fictional discourse, and what is conveyed without being stated can accordingly be explained through familiar pragmatic mechanisms. It is argued that this account carries some distinct advantages over competing views.

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  • 7.
    Franzén, Nils
    Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of historical, philosophical and religious studies.
    Nils Franzén om Vårt enda liv: Sekulär tro och andlig frihet av Martin Hägglund2023In: Filosofisk Tidskrift, ISSN 0348-7482, Vol. 44, no 3, p. 54-59Article, book review (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
  • 8.
    Franzén, Nils
    Department of Philosophy, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden; Department of Philosophy, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
    Non-factualism and evaluative supervenience2021In: Inquiry, ISSN 0020-174X, E-ISSN 1502-3923Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Supervenience in metaethics is the notion that there can be no moral difference between two acts, persons or events without some non-moral difference underlying it. If St. Francis is a good man, there could not be a man exactly like St. Francis in non-evaluative respects that is not good. The phenomenon was first systematically discussed by R. M. Hare (1952), who argued that realists about evaluative properties struggle to account for it. As is well established, Hare, and following him, Simon Blackburn, mistakenly took the relevant phenomenon to be weak rather than strong supervenience, and the explanations they offered for it are accordingly outdated. In this paper, I present a non-factualist account of strong supervenience of the evaluative and argue that it fares better than competing realist views in explaining the conceptual nature of the phenomenon, as well as in offering an account of the supervenience of the evaluative in general, rather than more narrowly the moral. While Hare and Blackburn were wrong about the specifics, they were right in that non-factualists can offer a plausible account of the supervenience of the evaluative, that in certain respects is superior to competing realist explanations.

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  • 9.
    Franzén, Nils
    Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of historical, philosophical and religious studies.
    The presumption of realism2024In: Philosophical Studies, ISSN 0031-8116, E-ISSN 1573-0883, Vol. 181, no 5, p. 1191-1212Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Within contemporary metaethics, it is widely held that there is a “presumption of realism” in moral thought and discourse. Anti-realist views, like error theory and expressivism, may have certain theoretical considerations speaking in their favor, but our pretheoretical stance with respect to morality clearly favors objectivist metaethical views. This article argues against this widely held view. It does so by drawing from recent discussions about so-called “subjective attitude verbs” in linguistics and philosophy of language. Unlike pretheoretically objective predicates (e.g., “is made of wood”, “is 185 cm tall”), moral predicates embed felicitously under subjective attitude verbs like the English “find”. Moreover, it is argued that the widespread notion that moral discourse bears all the marks of fact-stating discourse is rooted in a blinkered focus on examples from English. Cross-linguistic considerations suggest that subjective attitude verbs are actually the default terms by which we ascribe moral views to people. Impressions to the contrary in English have to do with some unfortunate quirks of the term “think”.

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  • 10.
    Franzén, Nils
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of historical, philosophical and religious studies.
    Felka, Katharina
    University of Graz.
    Thick terms and secondary contents2024In: Festschrift for Matti Eklund / [ed] Andreas Stokke, Uppsala: Uppsala universitet , 2024Chapter in book (Other academic)
  • 11.
    Franzén, Nils
    et al.
    Uppsala universitet.
    Moberger, Victor
    Stockholms universitet.
    Risberg, Olle
    Uppsala universitet.
    Grundbok i metaetik2021Book (Refereed)
  • 12.
    Soria-Ruiz, Andrés
    et al.
    University of Barcelona.
    Franzén, Nils
    Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of historical, philosophical and religious studies.
    Moral and moorean incoherencies2023In: Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy, E-ISSN 2330-4014, Vol. 10, article id 35Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    It has been argued that moral assertions involve the possession, on the part of the speaker, of appropriate non-cognitive attitudes. Thus, uttering ‘murder is wrong’ invites an inference that the speaker disapproves of murder. In this paper, we present the result of 4 empirical studies concerning this phenomenon. We assess the acceptability of constructions in which that inference is explicitly canceled, such as ‘murder is wrong but I don’t disapprove of it’; and we compare them to similar constructions involving ‘think’ instead of ‘disapprove’—that is, Moore paradoxes (‘murder is wrong but I don’t think that it is wrong’). Our results indicate that the former type of constructions are largely infelicitous, although not as infelicitous as their Moorean counterparts.

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1 - 12 of 12
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