Ordinary Referring Names in Fictional Contexts


  • Zoltán Vecsey




fictional characters, fiction-internal contexts, ordinary proper names, realism, reference, representation


Ordinary proper names can be taken to be referring expressions in non-fictional contexts. But what happens when such names occur in literary works? Within the realist stance, there are two approaches to the issue. Some say that ordinary proper names retain their real world referents in literary fiction. Others argue for the view that ordinary proper names are related there to surrogate referents. It can be pointed out, however, that both approaches create a conceptual tension within the realist doctrine. Fiction-internal contexts are incompatible with any reference-based interpretation of names. The proposal of this paper is, therefore, a shift in perspective: instead of sticking to the notion of reference, the behaviour of ordinary names should be described in terms of representation.


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