The null hypothesis for fiction and logical indiscipline

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The literature on the semantics of fiction is long-standing and voluminous. The null hypothesis, however, is rarely seriously entertained. Such a hypothesis simply denies that the fiction/non-fiction distinction is a semantic one, and so just like other statements, fictive ones of all kinds might be true or false depending on how the world is, and their truth conditions involve no ontological exotica or bespoke semantic machinery for their specification. As far as language goes, we might say, there just is no fiction. The present paper attempts nothing as ambitious as a full articulation and defence of this position; still less a refutation of the extant alternatives that are the focus of contemporary discussion. Much of the work in this regard, however, has been done in various ways by Ludlow (2006), Azzouni (2010), Friend (2012), Crane (2013), and Collins (2021a). Instead, my aim is to raise and dispel what might seem conclusive evidence against the null hypothesis. If nothing else, then, I'd like the null hypothesis to be rendered as a genuine null hypothesis from which we need a reason to depart.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAnalytic Philosophy
Early online date25 Jul 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Jul 2022

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