Artifactual Theory

961 Words 4 Pages
The ontological status of non spatiotemporal entities is often a controversial issue among philosophers. Fictional characters are discussed in particular because of their prominence in our ? culture. Amie L. Thomasson and Alexius Meinong address this ontological controversy surrounding fictional characters found in literature through different positions. Amie L. Thomasson’s paper, “If We Postulated Fictional Objects, What Would They Be?” introduces the artifactual theory in which fictional characters are ‘abstract artifacts’ created by and depend on their authors for their existence. Under the Meinongian Theory of Objects, anything that the human mind can think of or refer to is an object with a certain ontological statues of either existence, …show more content…
There is an issue of when the intentional object becomes a fictional object that exists. If the creator of the character tells one person about the character, does it now exist, even though it was not written in a physical book yet? The character’s identify conditions for when it becomes an ‘abstract artifact’ are not clear because it relies on the author’s creative process, the author’s acts or story-telling. Supporters of the artifactual theory might defend this concern by stating there are conditions for a fictional character to exist and there are separate conditions for a character to be an ‘abstract artifact.’ The fictional character must be shared in order to become an ‘abstract artifact’, however it still may exist as a fictional character stored in memory, regardless if others are aware of the character or not. This dependence of a character on collective awareness of people to become an ‘abstract artifact’ however creates arbitrary standards of how a character goes from simply existing in the mind of the creator or author to becoming an ‘abstract artifact.’ For instance, how many people have to know about the character for him to be an abstract …show more content…
Meinong claims that “ there is at least once object correlated with every combination of properties” (Thomasson 65). Every object has properties regardless of it having any kind of being. In other words, an object’s ability to have properties is independent from its being or non-being. Thus, fictional entities do possess the properties that they are characterized by in stories. For instance, Sherlock Holmes does indeed have the property of being an intelligent detective in the literary work he is found in even though he does not exist. Therefore, fictional characters already have being before they are thought of, spoken about or written about. Narratives told about characters are an important part of the conditions of a character to exist, according to Thomasson. However, Meinongianism does not place dependence on the creative process, the author’s acts or story telling for a fictional character to have being because there are already an infinite number of fictional objects as boundless and abstract objects. Fictional characters are therefore abstract entities in a distinct realm of other objects that subsist that are independent of creative inclusion. Even though I think it is implausible to deny that authors do not engage in creative processes to produce

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