Possible Worlds in Literary Theory (Literature, Culture, by Ruth Ronen

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By Ruth Ronen

The idea that of attainable worlds, initially brought in philosophical good judgment, proves to be a effective instrument while borrowed by means of literary idea to give an explanation for the inspiration of fictional worlds. Ruth Ronen develops a comparative interpreting of using attainable worlds in philosophy and in literary idea. She indicates new standards for the definition of fictionality; and during particular reviews of domain names inside of fictional worlds--events, gadgets, time and element of view--she proposes an intensive rethinking of fictionality as a rule and fictional narrativity specifically.

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A key to understanding this interdisciplinary link lies in the fact that fictionality is no longer regarded as immanent, and is not identified with components of the literary text itself. As will be shown below, a pragmatic definition of fictionality derives from merely adapting possible worlds and related terms to the literary discipline. Some of the literary theorists even use the notion of possible worlds to show that the fictionality of texts is a property deriving from cultural and historical decisions (according to which War and Peace is a fictional text although it documents historical and social facts, myths are considered fictional texts or historical texts according to the specific historical moment at which they are received, and the Histoire de la France by Michelet is a historical text despite the invented elements that recur in it).

The deviational nature of nonexistents is stressed by claiming, for instance, that in naming of nonexistents one cannot reconstruct a moment when a name was assigned to an entity (the history of naming a nonexistent object ends in a "block," Donnellan, 1974); by assuming that propositions about nonexistent entities require a different logic (Woods, Routley); a different semantic characterization (Parsons) or a different pragmatics (Searle). By employing these modes philosophers attempt to separate fictional propositions from "serious" ones and from propositions about existents.

We would only then be able to describe the logical status of each given state of affairs and its accessibility relative to the actualized center of the system of worlds. The question of whether possible worlds involve an attempt to define the links between possible states of affairs and the actual world, and to determine whether the actual world is privileged over other alternatives is one 26 Possible worlds, fictional worlds area of disaccord in the philosophical context. 5 More modest proposals will just see possibility as an operator over a variety of world-models and disregard the metaphysical implications that can be drawn from such an operator.

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