PhD Candidate Julien Lapointe published a chapter in the recent anthology World Building: Transmedia, Fans, Industries, part of Amsterdam University Press’ Transmedia series. The anthology is edited by Marta Boni (Assistant Professor at Université de Montréal’s Art History and Film Studies department, previously a postdoc fellow at Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema) and contains chapters by Marie-Laure Ryan, Roberta Pearson, as well as Mel Hoppenheim’s Marc Steinberg.
His chapter “‘He Doesn’t Look Like Sherlock Holmes’: The Truth Value and Existential Status of Fictional Worlds and their Characters” seeks to define how fictional characters might most robustly be characterized in term of their purported (fictional) existence. This problem has long dogged philosophy, especially metaphysics and logic. He surveys past efforts — Alexius Meinong’s notion of “non-existent objects” and David Lewis’s possible world semantics — and find them wanting. Instead, he argues that fictional characters need to be characterized in ways that are not reducible to their non-existence nor their belonging to counter-factual or fictitious realities. Consequently, he devises the term ” quasi-existence” as most accurately rendering the existential status we commonly ascribe to characters in fiction.
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