Fiction and Ontological Independence
AbstractA good number of the philosophers involved in the debate on the existence or non-existence of fictional entities have, explicitly or implicitly, proposed that our linguistic expressions provide sufficient criteria for determining what exists. Such accounts presuppose a semantic route to determining what exists, suggesting that whether fictional entities exist or not depends on whether propositions in fictional discourse are committed to the existence of fictional entities. This approach fails to acknowledge that a semantic route to ontology only reveals the ontological commitment of our expressions rather than what actually exist. Thus what is required is a metaphysical approach which grounds the existence of fictional entities on a criterion regarding what actually exists rather than what our propositions are committed to. To address this challenge, the current paper has two aims. First, the paper proposes to argue that ontological independence grounded in the concept of identity provides a more appropriate metaphysical route for determining what exists. Second, the paper argues that such metaphysical grounding of the criteria of existence justifies a realist account of the ontology of fictional entities.
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