University of Hertfordshire

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Elusive Fictional Truth

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-31
JournalBritish Journal of Aesthetics
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jan 2022


We argue that some fictional truths are fictionally true by default. We also argue that these fictional truths are subject to being undermined. We propose that the context within which we are to evaluate what is fictionally true changes when a possibility which was previously ignorable is brought to attention. We argue that these cases support a model of fictional truth which makes the conversational dynamics of determining truth in fiction structurally akin to the conversational dynamics of knowledge-ascription, as this is understood by David Lewis’s contextualist approach to knowledge. We show how a number of the rules which Lewis proposes for the case of knowledge-ascription can be employed to develop a novel and powerful framework for the case of truth in fiction.

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