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V—Telling Tales

Antony Eagle
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9264.2007.00215.x 125-147 First published online: 1 August 2007

Abstract

Utterances within the context of telling fictional tales that appear to be assertions are nevertheless not to be taken at face value. The present paper attempts to explain exactly what such ‘pseudo-assertions’ are, and how they behave. Many pseudo-assertions can take on multiple roles, both within fictions and in what I call ‘participatory criticism’ of a fiction, especially when they occur discourse-initially. This fact, taken together with problems for replacement accounts of pseudo-assertion based on the implicit prefixing of an ‘in the fiction’ operator, suggest that pseudo-assertion is best understood as a kind of make-believe. This proposal is elaborated and defended, and some applications to fictionalism are tentatively explored.

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