Fiction and Fictionalism

By R. M. Sainsbury

© 2009 – Routledge

244 pages

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Paperback: 9780415774352
pub: 2009-08-13
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Hardback: 9780415774345
pub: 2009-08-13
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About the Book

Are fictional characters such as Sherlock Holmes real? What can fiction tell us about the nature of truth and reality? In this excellent introduction to the problem of fictionalism R. M. Sainsbury covers the following key topics:

  • what is fiction?
  • realism about fictional objects, including the arguments that fictional objects are real but non-existent; real but non-factual; real but non-concrete
  • the relationship between fictional characters and non-actual worlds
  • fictional entities as abstract artefacts
  • fiction and intentionality and the problem of irrealism
  • fictionalism about possible worlds
  • moral fictionalism.

R. M. Sainsbury makes extensive use of examples from fiction, such as Sherlock Holmes, Anna Karenina and Madame Bovary and examines the work of philosophers who have made significant contributions to the topic, including Meinong, David Lewis, and Bas Van Fraassen. Additional features include chapter summaries, annotated further reading and a glossary of technical terms, making Fiction and Fictionalism ideal for those coming to the issue for the first time.

Reviews

'This is a great book. In it Mark Sainsbury provides a lucid and interesting discussion of the nature of fiction, the status of fictional objects, and fictionalism in general, offering an excellent overview of these subjects and giving a barrage of interesting arguments for his own views along the way. The book is also timely. There has been a recent surge of interest in all three of these issues and I know of no other book that comes close to providing such a good introduction to, and discussion of, these topics.' - Analysis

'…an impressive book. In a clear, concise and engaging style, Sainsbury manages to explain fairly difficult issues in an accessible way. Throughout the arguments are of high quality. Sainsbury manages both to provide good overviews of the relevant literature, and to present interesting arguments on pretty much every page. The book will be useful for students both at the advanced undergraduate level and at the graduate level, and for researchers in metaphysics and philosophy of language.' - Matti Eklund, Cornell University

'This is a great book. In it, Mark Sainsbury provides a lucid and interesting discussion of the nature of fiction, the status of fictional objects, and fictionalism in general, offering an excellent overview of these subjects and giving a barrage of interesting arguments for his own views along the way. The book is also timely. There has been a recent surge of interest in all three of these issues and I know of no other book that comes close to providing such a good introduction to, and discussion of, these topics.' - Anthony Everett, University of Bristol, UK

Table of Contents

Introduction 1. What is fiction? 2. Realism about fictional objects 3. Fictional objects are nonexistents 4. Worlds and truth: fictional worlds, possible worlds 5. Fictional entities are abstract artifacts 6. Irrealism: fiction and intentionality 7. Some fictionalists 8. Fictionalism about possible worlds 9. Moral fictionalism 10. Retrospect Glossary Notes Bibliography Index

About the Series

New Problems of Philosophy

New Problems of Philosophy

Series Editor: José Luis Bermúdez, Texas A&M University

'Routledge's New Problems of Philosophy series has a most impressive line-up of topical volumes aimed at upper-level undergraduate and graduate students in philosophy and at others with interests in cutting edge philosophical work. The authors are influential figures in their respective fields and notably adept at synthesizing and explaining intricate topics fairly and comprehensively.' – John Heil, Monash University (Australia) and Washington University, St Louis (USA)

‘This is an outstanding collection of volumes. The topics are well chosen and the authors are outstanding. They will be fine texts in a wide range of courses.’ - Stephen Stich, Rutgers University, USA

The New Problems of Philosophy series provides accessible and engaging surveys of the most important problems in contemporary philosophy. Each book examines a topic or theme that has emerged on the philosophical landscape in recent years, or that is a longstanding problem refreshed in light of recent work in philosophy and related disciplines. Clearly explaining the nature of the problem at hand and assessing attempts to answer it, books in the series are excellent starting-points for undergraduate and graduate students wishing to study a single topic in depth. They will also be essential reading for professional philosophers. Additional features include chapter summaries, further reading, and a glossary of technical terms.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PHI000000
PHILOSOPHY / General
PHI013000
PHILOSOPHY / Metaphysics