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Journal of Philosophical Research

Volume 42, 2017

Ben Cleary
Pages 259-276
DOI: 10.5840/jpr2017731110

Fictional Realism, Linguistic Indeterminacy, and Criteria of ‘Identity’

Anthony Everett has argued that fictional realism entails (i) that there are metaphysically indeterminate identity facts and (ii) that there are true contradictions. Ross Cameron and Brendan Murday independently reply to Everett’s arguments by proposing a view on which fictional realism entails merely linguistic indeterminacy and does not entail true contradictions. While I agree with the idea behind Murday’s and Cameron’s view, the specific details have some undesirable consequences about sentences containing an ‘according to the fiction’ operator. Furthermore, they cannot give a uniform semantics for sentences containing an ‘according to the fiction’ operator. I will offer a friendly amendment to Murday’s and Cameron’s view that avoids these undesirable consequences and has a uniform semantics. I will then extend Murday’s and Cameron’s reply by replacing a principle that Everett relies on in posing his objections with a new principle. This new principle will go some way toward meeting a challenge posed by Everett to provide adequate criteria of identity for fictional characters.