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  • Print publication year: 2011
  • Online publication date: June 2012

2 - Fiction, Myth, and Reality

Summary

Saul Kripke's insightful and penetrating work on names from fiction and myth, though unpublished, has generated a great deal of discussion. Kripke's account illuminates and yet exacerbates the chestnut of negative existentials. On Kripke's account, use of the name 'Sherlock Holmes' to refer to the fictional character is in a certain sense parasitic on a prior, more fundamental use not as a name for the fictional character. The use of 'Sherlock Holmes' represented by 'Holmes', as the name for what is in reality an abstract artifact, is the same use it has according to the Holmes stories, except that according to the stories, that use is one on which it designates a man. The alleged thoroughly nondesignating use of 'Sherlock Holmes' by Conan Doyle, as a pretend name for a man, is a myth.
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