The failure of storytelling to ground a causal theory of reference

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Title: The failure of storytelling to ground a causal theory of reference
Author: Tanksley, Charles William
Abstract: I argue that one cannot hold a Meinongian ontology of fictional characters and have a causal theory of reference for fictional names . The main argument presented refutes Edward Zalta's claim that storytelling should be considered an extended baptism for fictional characters . This amounts to the claim that storytelling fixes the reference of fictional names in the same way that baptism fixes the reference of ordinary names , and this is just a claim about the illocutionary force of these two types of utterance . To evaluate this argument , therefore , we need both a common understanding of the Meinongian ontology and a common taxonomy of speech acts . I briefly sketch the Meinongian ontology as it is laid out by Zalta in order to meet the former condition . Then I present an interpretation of the taxonomy of illocutionary acts given by John Searle in the late 1970s and mid 1980s , within which we can evaluate Zalta's claims . With an ontology of fictional characters and a taxonomy of speech acts in place , I go on to examine the ways in which the Meinongian might argue that storytelling is an extended baptism . None of these arguments are tenable -there is no way for the act of storytelling to serve as an extended baptism . Therefore , the act of storytelling does not constitute a baptism of fictional characters ; that is , storytelling fails to ground a causal chain of reference to fictional characters .
URI: http : / /hdl .handle .net /1969 .1 /147
Date: 2004-09-30

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The failure of storytelling to ground a causal theory of reference. Available electronically from http : / /hdl .handle .net /1969 .1 /147 .

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