The Realistic Fallacy, or: The Conception of Literary Narrative Fiction in Analytic Aesthetics


  • Jukka Mikkonen University of Tampere, Department of History and Philosophy



analytic aesthetics, fiction


In this paper, my aim is to show that in Anglo-American analytic aesthetics, the conception of narrative fiction is in general realistic and that it derives from philosophical theories of fiction-making, the act of producing works of literary narrative fiction. I shall firstly broadly show the origins of the problem and illustrate how the so-called realistic fallacy – the view which maintains that fictions consist of propositions which represent the fictional world “as it is” – is committed through the history of philosophical approaches to literature in the analytic tradition. Secondly, I shall show how the fallacy that derives from the 20th Century philosophy of language manifests itself in contemporary analytic aesthetics, using Peter Lamarque and Stein Haugom Olsen’s influential and well-known Gricean make-believe theory of fiction as an example. Finally, I shall sketch how the prevailing Gricean make-believe theories should be modified in order to reach the literary-fictive use of language and to cover fictions broader than Doyle’s stories and works alike.


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Author Biography

Jukka Mikkonen, University of Tampere, Department of History and Philosophy

Researcher, Department of History and Philosophy, University of Tampere


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How to Cite

Mikkonen, J. (2009). The Realistic Fallacy, or: The Conception of Literary Narrative Fiction in Analytic Aesthetics. Studia Philosophica Estonica, 1–18.