The chief purpose of this paper is to advance a defence of the old-fashioned view that empty names are neither proper names nor any other kind of interpretable expressions. A view of this sort usually makes it easy to account for the meaning of first-order sentences in which they occur in subject position: taken literally, they express no fully-fledged particular propositions, are not truth-evaluable, cannot be used to make assertions and so on. Yet, semantic issues arise when those very sentences are embedded in the scope of propositional attitude verbs. Such (intensional) constructions, indeed, turn out to be literally meaningful, truth-evaluable, and eligible for making assertions. The novel solution put forward here is to combine a version of sententialism with the idea that de dicto reports play a distinctive kind of metalinguistic expressive function. Roughly, that of enabling the ascriber to make explicit a mismatch between the way the embedded sentences are used by the ascribee and the way they are ordinarily used ̶ and, in turn, a mismatch between the way the (empty) names occurring in them are used by the ascribee and the way they are ordinarily used. Fictional names are then regarded as a mere subset of empty names. Accordingly, the above strategy is applied to account for the meaning and use of parafictional (and fictional) sentences and fictional vocabulary in general.
Abbott, B. (2011). Support for Individual Concepts. Linguistic and Philosophical Investigations, 10, 23–44.
Adams, F., Fuller, G., Stecker, R. (1997). The Semantics of Fictional Names. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, 78(2), 128–148.
Beaney, M. (1997). The Frege Reader. Oxford: Blackwell.
Bonomi, A. (2008). Fictional Contexts. In P. Bouquet, L. Serafini, R. H. Thomason (Eds.), Perspectives on Contexts (pp. 215–250). Stanford: CSLI Publications.
Brandom, R. (1994). Making it Explicit. Reasoning, Representing, and Discursive Commitment. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Brandom, R. (2000). Articulating Reasons: An Introduction to Inferentialism. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Brandom, R. (2015). From Empiricism to Expressivism: Brandom Reads Sellars. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Braun, D. (1993). Empty Names. Noûs, 27(4), 449–469.
Braun, D. (2005). Empty Names, Fictional Names, Mythical Names. Noûs, 39(4), 596–631.
Brentano, F. (1911). Psychologie vom Empirischen Standpunkt [Psychology From an Empirical Standpoint]. Leipzig: Duncker & Humblot.
Carnap, R. (1958). Meaning and Necessity: A Study in Semantics and Modal Logic (2nd enlarged paperback edition). Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
Carnap, R. (1967). The Logical Structure of the World and Pseudoproblems in Philosophy. London: Routledge K. Paul.
Church, A. (1951). The Need for Abstract Entities in Semantic Analysis. American Academy of Arts and Sciences Proceedings, 80(1), 100–112.
Ciecierski, T., Grabarczyk, P. (2020). Introduction: Individual Concepts in Language and Thought. Topoi, 39(2), 349–356.
Cocchiarella, N. B. (1982). Meinong Reconstructed versus Early Russell Reconstructed. Journal of Philosophical Logic, 11, 183–214.
Cocchiarella, N. B. (2007), Formal Ontology and Conceptual Realism. Dordrecht: Springer.
Crimmins, C. T. (2001). Intentional Objects, Ratio, 14(4), 336–349.
Crimmins, M., Perry, J. (1989). The Prince and the Phone Booth: Reporting Puzzling Beliefs. Journal of Philosophy, 86(12), 685–711.
Currie, G. (1990). The Nature of Fiction. Cambridge: CUP.
Davidson, D. (1967). Truth and Meaning. Synthese, 17, 304–323.
Davidson, D. (1968). On Saying That. Synthese, 19, 130–146.
deVries, W. A. (2011). Wilfrid Sellars. In E. N. Zalta (Ed.), Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved from: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/sellars/
deVries, W., Triplett, T. (2000). Knowledge, Mind, and the Given: A Reading of Sellars’ “Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind”. Indianapolis: Hackett.
Evans, G. (1985). Collected Papers. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Frápolli, M. J., Villanueva, N. (2012). Minimal Expressivism. Dialectica, 66(4), 471–487.
Frápolli, M. J., Villanueva, N. (2015). Expressivism, Relativism, and the Analytic Equivalence Test. Frontiers in Psychology, 6, 1788.
Frápolli, M. J., Villanueva, N. (2018). Minimal Expressivism and the Meaning of Practical Rationality. In M. Hetmański (Eds.), Rationality and Decision Making (pp. 1–22). Poznań, Poland: Brill Rodopi.
Frege, G. (1892). On Sense and Meaning. In M. Beaney (Ed.), The Frege Reader (pp. 151–171). Oxford: Blackwell.
Glavaničová, D. (2018). Fictional Names and Semantics: Towards a Hybrid View. In P. Stalmaszczyk (Ed.), Objects of Inquiry in Philosophy of Language and Literature: Studies in Philosophy of Language and Linguistics (pp. 59–73). Berlin: Peter Lang.
Glavaničová, D. (2021). Rethinking Role Realism. British Journal of Aesthetics, 61(1), 59–74.
Hausmann, M. (2019). Against Kripke’s Solution to the Problem of Negative Existentials. Analysis, 79(3), 411–415.
Ingarden, R. (1973). The Literary Work of Art. An Investigation on the Borderlines of Ontology, Logic, and Theory of Literature. Evanston: Northwestern University Press.
Köhler, S. (2017). Expressivism, Belief, and All That. Journal of Philosophy, 114(4), 189–207.
Kripke, S. A. (1980). Naming and Necessity. Oxford: Blackwell.
Kripke, S. A. (2011). Vacuous Names and Fictional Entities. Horizon. Studies in Phenomenology, 8(2), 676–706.
Kripke, S. A. (2013). Reference and Existence. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Künne, W. (1990). Perception, Fiction, and Elliptical Speech. In K. Jacobi, H. Pape (Eds.), Thinking and the Structure of the World. Hector-Neri Castañeda’s Epistemic Ontology Presented and Criticised (pp. 259–267). Berlin: de Gruyter.
Lamarque, P., Olsen, S. H. (1994). Truth, Fiction, and Literature. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Landini, G. (1990). How to Russell Another Meinongian: A Russellian Theory of Fictional Objects Versus Zalta’s Theory of Abstract Objects. Grazer Philosophische Studien, 37, 93–122.
Landini, G. (2012). Fictions Are All in the Mind. Revue internationale de philosophie, 262(4), 593–614.
Lewis, D. (1978). Truth in Fiction. American Philosophical Quarterly, 15(1), 37–46.
Lewis, D. (1986). On the Plurality of Worlds. Oxford: Blackwell.
McGregor, R. (2014). Poetic Thickness. British Journal of Aesthetics, 54(1), 49–64.
McGregor, R. (2016). The Value of Literature. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield International.
Moldovan, A. (2019). Can Entailments Be Implicatures? In P. Stalmaszczyk (Ed.), Philosophical Insights into Pragmatics (pp. 43–62). Berlin: De Gruyter.
Moltmann. F. (2013). Abstract Objects and the Semantics of Natural Language. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Moltmann. F. (2015). Quantification With Intentional and With Intensional Verbs. In A. Torza (Ed.), Quantifiers, Quantifiers, and Quantifiers (pp. 141–168). Dordrecht: Springer.
Orilia, F. (2012). A Theory of Fictional Entities Based on Denoting Concepts. Revue internationale de philosophie, 262(4), 577–592.
Parsons, T. (1978). Nuclear and Extranuclear Properties, Meinong, and Leibniz. Noûs, 12(2), 137–151.
Parsons, T. (1982). Fregean Theories of Fictional Objects. Topoi, 1(1–2), 81–87.
Pears, D. (1951). Universals. The Philosophical Quarterly, 1(3), 218–227.
Pelletier, F. J., Zalta, E. N. (2000). How to Say Goodbye to the Third Man. Noûs, 34(2), 165–202.
Predelli, S. (2021). Fictional Tellers A Radical Fictionalist Semantics for Fictional Discourse. Organon F, 28(1), 76–106.
Priest, G. (2005). Towards Non-Being: the Logic and Metaphysics of Intentionality. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Quine, W. (1956). Quantifiers and Propositional Attitudes. Journal of Philosophy, 53(5), 177–187.
Recanati, F. (2000). Oratio Obliqua, Oratio Recta. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Sainsbury, R. M. (2009). Fiction and Fictionalism. London: Routledge.
Salmon, N. (1998). Nonexistence. Noûs, 32(3), 277–319.
Schiffer, S. (1996). Language-Created Language-Independent Entities. Philosophical Topics, 24(1), 149–166.
Schiffer, S. (2003). The Things We Mean. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Scruton, R. (1970–1971). Intensional and Intentional Objects. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, New Series, 71, 187– 207.
Searle, J. R. (1979). The Logical Status of Fictional Discourse. In P. A. French, T. E. Uehling Jr., H. K. Wettstein (Eds.), Contemporary Perspectives in the Philosophy of Language (pp. 233–243). Minneapolis: University of Minneapolis Press.
Sellars, W. S. (1956). Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind. Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science, 1, 253–329.
Sellars, W. S. (1963). Science, Perception and Reality. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd; New York: The Humanities Press.
Stokke, A. (2021). Fictional Names and Individual Concepts. Synthese, 198, 7829–7859.
Strawson, P. F. (1954). A Reply to Mr. Sellars. Philosophical Review, 63(2), 216–231.
Strawson, P. F. (1964). Identifying Reference and Truth-Values. Theoria, 30(2), 96–118
Thomasson, A. L. (1999). Fiction and Metaphysics. Cambridge: CUP.
Voltolini, A. (2006). How Ficta Follow Fiction. A Syncretistic Account of Fictional Entities. Dordrecht: Springer.
Walton, K. (1990). Mimesis as Make-Believe: On the Foundations of the Representational Arts. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Wolterstorff, N. (1980). Works and Worlds of Art. Oxford: Clarendon.
Yablo, S. (2006). Non-Catastrophic Presupposition Failure. In J. Thomson, A. Byrne (Eds.), Content and Modality: Themes from the Philosophy of Robert Stalnaker (pp. 164–190). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Zalta, E. N. (1983). Abstract Objects: An Introduction to Axiomatic Metaphysics. Dordrecht: D. Reidel.