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Against truth-conditional theories of meaning : three lessons from the language(s) of fiction.

Uckelman, Sara L. and Chan, Phoebe (2016) 'Against truth-conditional theories of meaning : three lessons from the language(s) of fiction.', Res philosophica., 2 (93). pp. 1-19.


Fictional discourse and fictional languages provide useful test cases for theories of meaning. In this paper, we argue against truth-conditional accounts of meaning on the basis of problems posed by language(s) of fiction. It is well-known how fictional discourse—discourse about nonexistent objects—poses a problem for truth-conditional theories of meaning. Less well-considered, however, are the problems posed by fictional languages, which can be created to either be meaningful or not to be meaningful; both of these ultimately also provide problems for a truthconditional account of meaning, because it cannot account for the ways in which we use and evaluate such fictional languages. Instead, a pragmatic or use-based account provides a better explanation for some of the phenomena we discuss.

Item Type:Article
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Date accepted:15 July 2015
Date deposited:23 July 2015
Date of first online publication:14 October 2015
Date first made open access:14 October 2016

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