Sunday, December 03, 2006

The Great Marriage

I will concern myself with one question:

A randomly selected person, may, when asked, say that he believes that marriage exists, but deny that fictional characters exist. If we say that abstract things such as marriage and promises exist, ought we to admit that fictional characters exist as well?

The answer to this question may lie in figuring out WHY a person would admit the existence of marriage and deny the existence of fictional characters. There are several possible components to this reasoning:

A)"I say marriage exists because I know people who ARE married."
Resp) this is not a good reason. It treats marriage as a property, e.g. "Blaine is married". In the same way we can say, "Blaine is tall": but most people do not believe that "Tall" (or "Tallness") exist. Existence of properties is unclear, and may require a Platonic ideal to understand.

B)"I say marriage exists because it is a concept that can be actualized".
Resp)This response treats marriage in the proper way. But this response leans towards Platonism. What grounds does a Platonist have for believing in the existence of abstractia without being a fictionalist?

C)"Because fictional characters resemble concrete objects that may or may not exist, I am scared to admit that fictional characters exist".
Resp)I believe this is a common reason why people deny the existence of fictional objects - I shall call fictional characters humanoids because they claim to have (disregard van Inwagen) properties that humans have. Most laypeople would fear being called a fool if they would say that Henry IV does not exist because he is dead, and then go on to say Falstaff does exist because Shakespear created him. In the same way, people may be scared to admit that fictional objects exist because of their similarity to mythical objects: try convincing a scientific community that Vulcan exists!

Of course, fear is not a good reason to decide the way things actually are. But no other reasons have been given to say why we should accept one and not the other. That is why I believe that all Platonists should be inclined to be fictionalists. Of course, if one is a Platonist, one should be sure that they hold their views because of (B) and not (A).


Blogger Ted said...

Wow man!
Your profile said you were 251 years old, but you look pretty young in the picture!
maybe you could enlighten us as to the secret of your endurance/longevity.

3:59 PM  

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