Andreas Stokke: "Fiction, Assertion, and Testimony"

  • Date: –12:00
  • Location: Engelska parken – Eng2/1022
  • Organiser: Department of Philosophy
  • Contact person: Matti Eklund
  • Seminarium

The Higher Seminar in Theoretical Philosophy

Andreas Stokke, Uppsala University: "Fiction, Assertion, and Testimony"

This paper concerns two main questions:

(i) Can an utterance be both fictive and assertoric?

(ii) Can fictional works include utterances that are assertoric but not fictive? 

These questions are important for at least two related reasons. First, they have consequences for how to understand fictive utterances, the kind of speech act authors of a fictional work perform when telling their stories. Second, they have consequences for whether fictional works can include testimony, and hence for how to think about learning from fiction. I argue for the view that answers “no” to both (i) and (ii). Accordingly, I argue that fictional works are made up entirely of purely fictive utterances. I argue that, consequently, fictional works do not include testimony, and I comment on some ramifications for how we can learn from fiction.