SOPhiA 2018

Salzburgiense Concilium Omnibus Philosophis Analyticis

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Programme - Talk

Against an Identity Criterion for Fictional Ersatz Realism
(Metaphysics and Ontology, English)

Fictional ersatz realism is the metaphysical stance that abstract fictional entities exist and are dependent on fiction and literary practices. Everett (2005) tackled the position of ersatz realism by claiming that the ersatz realist cannot provide an identity criterion for fictional entities that is at the same time faithful to the story and not open for a contradiction on an ontological level. First off, I will outline the current debate about identity criteria in ersatz realism up until the most recent refinements on behalf of the ersatz realist made by Woodward (2017). Based on Everett's primary argument, I will argue that even past the most recent defense, ersatz realism is no tenable position as it cannot provide a consistent identity criterion for fictional entities. To arrive at this conclusion, I will present a base frame for identity criteria available to the ersatz realist and show that to any identity criteria the ersatz realist may propose there is a story such that the fictional entity corresponding to a fictional character of this story is not self-identical, imposing a contradiction to the metaphysical account of ersatz realism. Eventually, I will introduce three possible answers to this argument to the effect that the ersatz realist (a) needs to insist on indeterminate interpretation of certain aspects of fiction and a specific logical form of the identity criterion (b) gives an additional account of reference such that she can make sense of extra-fictional sentences involving characters that appear inside a kind of non-fictional text or (c) to explain why fictional entities deserve a special treatment with regard to identity as the identity relation is not reflexive. I conclude that only reaction (a) is attractive as it is the only reaction that may be motivated independently of avoiding the problems imposed by the presented argument.

Chair: Alexander Gebharter
Time: 10:40-11:10, 13 September 2018 (Thursday)
Location: SR 1.006

Timo Meier 
(Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz, Germany)

Timo Meier studied psychology, mathematics and philosophy at the University of Hagen and the Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz. He attained a Bachelor of Education in 2016 and is currently a graduate student (Master of Arts) in philosophy at the Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz. Besides studying, he teaches introduction courses on formal logic and conducts the teaching and learning project ``DenkSport'' at the Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz. His research revolves around the intersection of logic, metaphysics and the philosophy of language where he is especially concerned with the metaphysics and ontology of fictional entities and the logics of fiction. Currently, he is working on his master thesis, seeking to implement the fundamental idea of fictionalism into a logic of fiction.

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