Real Authors and Fictional Agents (Fictional Narrators, Fictional Authors)

  • Alberto Voltolini Università di Torino
Keywords: Real Author, Fictional Narrator, Fictional Author, Fictional Agent, Fictional Use, Relevant Context of Interpretation


In this paper, I will claim that a plausible account of fictional narration must involve a conceptual distinction among the three following figures: real authors, fictional narrators, fictional authors. Real authors may coincide, albeit rarely, either with fictional narrators or with fictional authors. A fictional narrator, however, can never coincide with a fictional author, for either figure is the ‘fictional agent, the contextual factor that contributes to yielding a semantic (truthconditional) content to the fiction-involving sentences that, in their fictional use, either figure narrates. Because of this, however, we need to distinguish between a fictional narrator and a fictional author for reasons that only partially coincide with those that Currie (1990) advocates. We need a fictional author precisely for the very same semantic reasons for which we need a fictional narrator; that is to say, as I hinted at before, in order to account for the fictional truth conditions and fictional truth values that fiction-involving sentences have in their fictional use. We indeed need either a fictional narrator or a fictional author in order to have an ‘agent’ of the relevant fictional context that enables a fiction-involving sentence, in its fictional use, to fictionally say something, i.e., to have a fictional semantic (truthconditional) content, hence to have also a fictional truth value. Yet we do not need a fictional author for ‘epistemic reasons, which have to do with reliability in narration; pace Currie (1990), just like the fictional narrator, that author must not be omniscient.


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Author Biography

Alberto Voltolini, Università di Torino

Alberto Voltolini (PhD Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa 1989) is a philosopher of language and mind whose works have focused mainly on fiction, intentionality, depiction, and Wittgenstein. He is currently Professor in Philosophy of Mind at the University of Turin (Italy). He has got scholarships at the Universities of Geneva and Sussex. He has been visiting professor at the Universities of California, Riverside (1998), Australian National University, Canberra (2007), Barcelona (2010), London (2015), Auckland (2007, 2018), Antwerp (2019). He has been a member of the Steering Committee of the European Society for Analytic Philosophy (2002-2008) and of the Board of the European Society for Philosophy and Psychology (2009-2012). His publications include How Ficta Follow Fiction (Springer, 2006), as well as the “Fictional Entities” entry (with F. Kroon) of the Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy, and A Syncretistic Theory of Depiction(Palgrave, 2015).


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How to Cite
Voltolini, A. (2019). Real Authors and Fictional Agents (Fictional Narrators, Fictional Authors). Between, 9(18).