Ambiguity tests, generics, and fictional names

Seminar on Language and Communication

Monday, Nov. 2, 11:30 am,

Stefano Predelli (University of Nottingham)
Venue: ILCLI Seminar Room


According to the 'Character Referring Thesis' fictional names always refer to abstract characters. Classic ambiguity tests support this conclusion. Yet, in order to obtain the intuitively desired results for cases such as 'Holmes smokes a pipe', CRT is typically accompanied by the thesis that fictions are inevitably metaphysically inconsistent: according to the fiction, an abstract character is a pipe smoking detective. I aim at developing an account consistent with CRT, but immune from this undesirable consequence. My account is grounded on an interpretation of '(according to the fiction) Holmes smokes a pipe' as a generic statement.