Seminar on Cognitive Science and Philosophy
Thursday, February 23, 2012, 11:00 am
David Davies (McGill, Montréal)
Fictionality, Fictive Utterance, and the Assertive Author
Venue: Carlos Santamaria Center
Fictive utterance theories of fictionality hold that a text that includes a narrative is the vehicle for a fiction only if it is the product of an act of fictive utterance, a kind of speech act that invites the receiver to make-believe rather than believe what is narrated. In the version of the fictive utterance theory that I have defended (e.g. in Aesthetics and Literature (Continuum, 2007), chapter 3), fictionality also requires that the overriding motivation of the author in constructing a narrative be some story-telling objective other than the desire to relate what is true. In a number of recent books and articles, however, critics have charged that fictive utterance theories cannot account for the place of non-fictive utterances in the generation of fictional works. (See, for example, John Gibson, Fiction and the Weave of Life (Oxford University Press, 2007), chapter 5; Stacie Friend, ‘Imagining Fact and Fiction’, in Kathleen Stock and Katherine Thompson-Jones, New Waves in Aesthetics (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008), 150-169.).
I argue that such objections only undermine infelicitous formulations of the fictive utterance theory - among which I count my own earlier position - that fail to take proper account of the way in which fictional narratives in general are supposed to work. Closer attention to the latter will allow us to specify more accurately how fictive utterance enters into the narrative process. In particular, we need to take account of the attitudes prescribed by the author of a fictional narrative to the setting of a fiction and to the fiction itself. I draw here on some other work by Friend on ‘connected names’ in fictions (‘Real people in unreal contexts’, in Anthony Everett and Thomas Hofweber, eds., Empty Names, Fiction, and the Puzzle of Non-Existence (CSLI Publications, 2000), 183-203. I also insist upon a distinction - not properly respected by either proponents or critics of fictive utterance theories - between (a) considerations bearing upon the fictionality of a narrative, and (b) considerations bearing upon the fictionality of a work. I offer a revised ‘fictive utterance’ account of the former and reflect upon the significance of fictive utterance for the latter.
If you wish to attend, please contact Luis Ángel Pérez Miranda: email@example.com
Fecha de la última modificación: 06/02/2012