Humanities and Arts

Fictional Creations

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Many people assume that fictional entities are encapsulated in the world of fiction. I show that this cannot be right. Some works of fiction tell us about pieces of poetry, music, or theatre written by fictional characters. Such creations are fictional creations, as I call them. Their authors do not exist. But that does not take away that we can perform, recite, or otherwise generate actual instances of such works. This means we can bring such individuals actually into existence, as the works they are. I conclude that the assumption about encapsulation is untenable, unless an exception is made for types. It is commonly assumed that fictional entities do not exist, at least not actually. “There is no Dracula!” we tell the children before bedtime, “It’s only a story.” That no fictional entity exists is however a substantive philosophical claim, and some philosophers have even gone so far to claim that no fictional entity can exist in the actual world. I will show that both claims are false. To say that fictional entities do not exist, or to claim that they could not exist, is mistaken, I argue, for reasons that have little to do with the distinction between fiction and reality.