Essay on The Ontology Of Fictional Characters And Events

910 Words Feb 22nd, 2016 4 Pages
In this essay, I will discuss the ontology of fictional characters and events. At first glance, such a topic may seem absurd. Fiction is often understood as something fabricated by the imagination, separating itself from reality. However, does this mean that fictional characters and events cannot exist? I wish to explore this topic, looking at certain aspects of fiction, such as how fictional objects can actually exist, how one may even discuss the fictional, and characters as literary artefacts.

Firstly there is an important distinction among fictional objects and descriptions. Fictional objects are imaginary characters, locations, and events. Fictional descriptions conversely, are untrue statements such as ‘Shakespeare travelled to Mars for Christmas’. While all the objects in the sentence are real, it is an untrue statement. As we draw these distinctions, one must note that a whole work could be fictional despite holding truths and real objects, or even ‘real’ descriptions in them. A reader can recognise that “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way” speaks a certain truth about reality, even if Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina is a pure work of fiction. Conversely, I will not discuss the ‘truth’ of a fictional character, or even how real the character or event may seem. I will solely look into how such fictional objects might exist.

David Lewis attempts to show how fictional worlds can exist if we compare them to Lewisian possible…

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