An illocutionary account of truth in fiction
Wednesday 4th February 2014 | 16:00 – 18:00 Senate House, Room 102
I argue that what’s true according to a fiction is given by the contents of authors’ fiction-making illocutionary acts. According to this account, much less is true according to a fiction than is commonly supposed. I argue that this account avoids many of the problems that face rival construals of truth in fiction. However, it trades crucially on the claim that fiction-making illocutionary acts can be performed indirectly. This seems to create problems explaining how readers are able to identify the contents of such indirect acts. It is often held that the ability to identify indirect speech acts relies on the assumption that those who perform them are cooperating with their audiences by communicating something true. This assumption is generally unwarranted in the case of fiction. I defend my account of truth in fiction against this worry by providing an alternative explanation of the means by which readers identify the contents of authors’ indirect fiction-making illocutionary acts.