Organon F

Volume 28, February 2021, Issue 1, Pages 76–106

ISSN 2585-7150 (online) ISSN 1335-0668 (print)

Research Article | Special issue on Names and Fictions

Fictional Tellers: A Radical Fictionalist Semantics for Fictional Discourse

Stefano Predelli


This essay proposes a dissolution of the so-called ‘semantic problem of fictional names’ by arguing that fictional names are only fictionally proper names. The ensuing idea that fictional texts do not encode propositional content is accompanied by an explanation of the contentful effects of fiction grounded on the idea of impartation. After some preliminaries about (referring and empty) genuine proper names, this essay explains how a fiction’s content may be conveyed by virtue of the fictional impartations provided by a fictional teller. This idea is in turn developed with respect to homodiegetic narratives such as Doyle’s Holmes stories and to heterodiegetic narratives such as Jane Austen’s Emma. The last parts of the essay apply this apparatus to cases of so-called ‘talk about fiction’, as in our commentaries about those stories and that novel.


Fiction; fictional names; narrative; proper names; semantics.

Author(s) and affiliation(s)


Stefano Predelli 


University of Nottingham


Institute of Philosophy, Department of Philosophy. University of Nottingham, Nottingham NG7 2RD, United Kingdom


About this article


4 February 2020


4 May 2020

Published online

28 February 2021


Institute of Philosophy of the Slovak Academy of Sciences

Institute of Philosophy of the Czech Academy of Sciences

Cite as


Predelli, S. (2021). Fictional Tellers: A Radical Fictionalist Semantics for Fictional Discourse. Organon F, 28(1), 76–106.


Predelli, Stefano. 2021. "Fictional Tellers: A Radical Fictionalist Semantics for Fictional Discourse." Organon F 28 (1): 76–106.


Predelli, S.  (2021). Fictional Tellers: A Radical Fictionalist Semantics for Fictional Discourse. Organon F, 28(1), pp. 76–106.

Copyright information

© Stefano Predelli

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