Paradoxes of Character

Wednesday, 01 February 2023, 16:00-18:00

Senate House, Room 243


The fictional character is paradoxical: even those who have defended a purely formalist conception, criticizing traditional or naive confusions between characters and persons, have typically indexed their definitions of characters to their representations of the real world. In this paper I will describe the paradox in general, and then in the specific form it has taken in analytic philosophy since the much celebrated article by Colin Radford, attaching to the emotional response aroused by non-existent beings. I will show that contemporary theories of fiction, which consider the character as a person, have eroded the boundaries of fiction. Finally, I will examine the paradox of character in light of a figurative device that is itself paradoxical, the metalepsis, highlighting its recent transformation both in criticism and in cultural artefacts.


Following NHS guidance, all attendees are strongly encouraged to be vaccinated (including boosters) against Covid-19, unless medically exempt. Face coverings are still encouraged, especially in classrooms. Our group is diverse; please continue to be considerate of those who wear face coverings and those who don’t. Thank you.