Discusses different types of fictionalism1 in literature.
→ Instrumentalist fictionalism2;
→ Object fictionalism4;
→ Relative reflexive fictionalism5.
- There is the following predicament.
- One, we find ourselves uttering sentences that seem on the face of it to be committed to so-and-so’s — sentences that could not be true unless so-and-so’s existed.
- But, two, we do not believe that so-and-so’s exist.
- What is someone caught up in The Predicament (as let’s call it) supposed to do? The official standard menu of options was given by Quine in "Quine (W.V.) - Word & Object". Our choices are three:
- Show how the commitment can be paraphrased away — thus Quine himself on chances.
- Stop uttering the problematic sentences — thus Quine on glints.
- Give up our resistance to the commitment — thus Quine on sets.
- Those who reject these options are subjected by Quine to some pretty withering criticism: “I deplore the philosophical double talk, which would repudiate an ontology while simultaneously enjoying its benefits” (242).
- Quine recognizes a fourth way of dealing with The Predicament. Someone whose sentences are committed to so-and-so’s need not share in the commitment if
- The sentences are advanced in a fictional or make-believe spirit.
- To have a name for this fourth option, let us call it fictionalism. There are a number of versions of fictionalism, according to the various accounts one might give of “advancing in a fictional spirit.”
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