E. E. Constance Jones on Existence in Fiction and Imagination


E. E. Constance Jones


DOI: https://doi.org/10.26333/sts.xxxvi1.11

E. E. Constance Jones (1848–1922) was one of the first women to study philosophy at the University of Cambridge. On her view, “Dorothea” (from George Eliot’s novel Middlemarch) applies to a fictional character, which has existence in fiction, and “fairy” applies to fairies, which have existence in imagination. She proposes a novel account of negative existentials, on which “fairies are non-existent” is both meaningful and true, given that there are at least two kinds of existence: one that fairies have (so that we can talk about them) and another that they lack (so that we can truly say that they “are non-existent”). Contrary to Russell’s objection in The Principles of Mathematics, accounting for negative existentials does not require distinguishing existence and being, nor does it require rejecting the existential theory of judgment (according to which every sentence is about something that exists).



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