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Puzzles of Fiction

Course Description

Fiction plays an important role in our lives; from childhood onwards, we engage with fictions by telling stories, reading novels, and playing games. Yet much about fiction remains fundamentally mysterious – there are, we might say, numerous thorny puzzles of fiction. For example, what does it mean to say that something is true in a fiction? What determines what is or is not true in a given fiction? Can there be fictions in which logical contradictions are true and, if so, what does this tell us about the nature of fictional truth? Similarly, is it true in A New Hope that Vader is Luke’s father (a fact we learn in a latter episode of the movie series)? And what sort of thing is Vader anyway – an abstract object created by George Lukas, a merely possible entity, or perhaps nothing at all?

This course aims to address many of these puzzles and, by doing so, clarify the nature of fiction, fictional objects, and our relationship to them.

Course Materials

Further Materials

Regarding writing philosophy papers, I strongly suggest the following:

Further, the following German texts – all written by Christian Folde – are all useful: