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

Alberto Voltolini


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.


Real Author; Fictional Narrator; Fictional Author; Fictional Agent; Fictional Use; Relevant Context of Interpretation

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