Truth In Fiction

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McGill University
PHIL 200
Michael Blome Tillmann

Truth In Fiction When we add prefixes to statements about fiction, it automatically becomes true in term of what is true in the fictional world (i.e. we can apply coherence/correspondence or other methods of justifying truth to justify the statement about fiction). Limitations of prefixing Not all sentences about fiction or involving fictional characters can be prefixed that way (i.e. “According to such and such fiction by such and such author”) Premise1: Sherlock Holmes lives at 221B Baker Street Premise2: 221B Baker Street is a bank. Conclusion: Sherlock Holmes lives in a bank This logic will not work because we are using two premises from contradicting worlds. Either one or the entire premise must be prefixed so that logic follows. The above argument will be true for an ordinary person named Sherlock Holmes who lives in London and we talk about him, and deduct that since he lives in 221B and 221B Baker Street is a bank, he must live in a bank. Three types of truth in fiction We presumably assume things which are implicitly indicated in fiction. E.g. Batman needs to go to the bathroom sometimes; Laws of gravity apply in the Superman stories. Background is just what would have been true, according to a community’s overt beliefs, had the fiction been told as a known fact instead. If Batman stories were real, according to the community’s overt beliefs, Batman would need to go the bathroom because he is a human being. In addition to background, there also facts that Carry Over from other fictions or from other stories in the same fiction. I.e. The different universes of Superman, Different cases of Sherlock Holmes, Spin offs or Fan Fi
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