This paper was given at the conference “Do ficta follow fiction?”, University of Eastern Piedmont, Vercelli. June 2002. Thanks to members of the audience on that occasion for their comments. Thanks especially to Eros Corazza who read and commented on an early version, and to a referee for Dialectica.
Characters and Contingency
Version of Record online: 23 JUN 2005
Volume 57, Issue 2, pages 137–148, June 2003
How to Cite
Courrle, G. (2003), Characters and Contingency. Dialectica, 57: 137–148. doi: 10.1111/j.1746-8361.2003.tb00261.x
- Issue online: 23 JUN 2005
- Version of Record online: 23 JUN 2005
One way creatures of fiction seem to differ from real things is in their essential properties. While you and I might not have done many of the things we did do, Anna Karenina could not, surely, have been other than a lover of Vronsky. Is that right? Not straightforwardly: while it is true that “Necessarily, someone who was not a lover of Vronsky would not be Anna” it is also true that “Someone who was necessarily a lover of Vronsky would not be Anna”. I use a framework developed by Stalnaker to explain this, and to shed light on the semantics of fictional names.