ABSTRACT. The problem of genuine names occurring in fictions has garnered much less attention than its more glamorous cousin—viz. the problem of vacuous or empty names—but perhaps a careful examination of the former may shed some light on the latter, as well as on aesthetics more generally. In this paper I argue that proper names occurring in fiction directly refer to the actual persons, places and things. I offer a theory for consideration which handles Kroon’s “Real-Fictional Problem,” which is a puzzle concerning direct reference accounts of such names. I also present some reasons why this theory is preferable to the highly influential account in Lewis’s “Truth in Fiction”—the modal realist solution to Kroon’s puzzle which is originally suggested in the closing of Kroon’s “Make-Believe and Fictional Reference.” I present an objection to the modal realist solution involving anaphora. Next, I examine French’s Lewisian account from “Places of Fiction,” and argue that my suggestion better accords with our intuitions about fiction, and also that it is more applicable to other areas of aesthetics. pp. 43–59

Keywords: semantics, names, fiction, philosophy of language, Fred Kroon, Peter French, David Lewis, modal realism

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Department of Philosophy
Syracuse University

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