The statement “Mr. Darcy proposes to Elizabeth” seems true in Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice (even though it may not actually appear in the text) while the statement “Mr. Darcy is a detective” seems false. One explanation for this intuition is that when we read or talk about fictional stories, we implicitly employ the fictional operator “It is fictional that” or “It is part of the story that.” “It is fictional that Mr. Darcy proposes to Elizabeth” expresses a true proposition while “It is fictional that Mr. Darcy is a detective” does not. Fictive statements can be abbreviated as “In F, P”. Determining what statements are fictionally true in a story requires providing truth conditions for statements of the form “In F, P.” This paper proposes an analysis of truth in fiction and examines the notion of make-believe.
KeywordsAssertion Fiction Fictional truth Fictive statements Illocutionary acts Make believe Pretense Speech acts Truth in fiction
We would like to thank participants at the European Society of Aesthetics and the Ohio Philosophical Association, where earlier versions of this paper were presented, for helpful discussions. We are also grateful to an anonymous referee for valuable comments.
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