Fictional Stance, Fictional Names and Discourse about Fiction
The author believes that metaphysical disputes concerning the status of fictional entities, their identity conditions, their completness or incompletness etc. should be brought down to the earth by focusing on the moves and assumptions on which the functions of relevant kinds of fiction are based. The first part of the discussion will be devoted to basic moves required by occurences of fictional names in the texts of narrative fiction. As it turns out, we will have to strictly distinguish between (1) the entities assumed (in the as if mode) as referents of these occurences and (2) literary characters as elements of the construction of a literary work – although there is a straightforward relation between their identity conditions. On this basis, we will proceed to interpreting various kinds of uses of fictional names outside the texts of narrative fiction. For instance, the analysis of certain intertextual statements will confirm the relevance of the distinction between (1) and (2): while it is obvious that Homer’s Ὀδυσσεύς and Dante‘s Ulisse are different literary characters, the literary functions of Dante‘s Inferno require the reader to assume (in the as if mode) that the name „Ulisse“ refers to the same person as the name „Ὀδυσσεύς“ in Homer’s epic. Part of the discussion will be critically inspired by François Recanati’s interpretation of parafictional statements, like „In Doyle’s stories, Holmes is a detective who solves mysteries“.