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Reference and ExistenceThe John Locke Lectures$
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Saul A. Kripke

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199928385

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199928385.001.0001

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November 20, 1973

November 20, 1973

(p.79) Lecture IV November 20, 1973
Reference and Existence

Saul A. Kripke

Oxford University Press

The previous chapter argued that assertions such as ‘Hamlet exists’ can be true. The current chapter argues that such assertions cannot be analyzed as: ‘In the story, Hamlet exists.’ After all, in the story, Hamlet is a real person. But when we say that Hamlet exists, we mean that a fictional character exists, not that a real person does. To deny that Hamlet exists is to commit the toy-duck fallacy. A toy duck is not a real duck, but calling it a toy is not to deny its existence. In the same way, a fictional prince is not a real prince, but it would involve a similar fallacy to deny that the fictional prince exists. This fallacy is implicated in the debate concerning the existence of illusory objects such as objects of hallucination. Macbeth, it is here argued, sees a dagger, even though it is not a real one.

Keywords:   fiction, identity, hallucination, illusion, perception, sense-data

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