Real authors and fictional agents

Wednesday 18 April 2018, 4.00PM to 5.30pm

Speaker(s): Professor Alberto Voltolini, Turin University

Real authors and fictional agents (fictional narrators, fictional authors)

A suitable account of fiction must involve a conceptual distinction between (at least) the following three figures, or roles: real authors, fictional narrators, fictional authors. Real authors may (rarely) coincide either with fictional narrators or with fictional authors. Fictional narrators, however, never coincide with fictional authors, for either one or the other is the fictional agent, the contextual factor that contributes to provide a (truthconditional) content to the fictional tale that is told.

Yet the reasons why we need all such figures just partly overlap with those Currie (1990) provides. We do need a fictional author for semantic reasons, that is, in order to account for the fictional truthconditions and truthvalues of fiction-involving sentences in their fictive, or fictional, use. Yet we do not need such an author for epistemic reasons, having to do with reliability in narration. As a result, the semantic reasons for why we need a fictional author do not coincide with those Currie (1990) advocates, which actually appeal to an ascription of omniscience (of a certain sort) to the fictional author.


Further information about Professor Voltolini can be found at:

Location: Department of Philosophy, Sally Baldwin Building, Block A, Room SB/A009

Admission: Departmental colloquium members and postgraduate students