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Title: Emanuel Viebahn, "Description: The poet affirmeth: on speech acts in fiction" Presented on campus in the seminar room; simulcast via Zoom: poet affirmeth: on speech acts in fictionAbstract: What kinds of speech acts do authors produce in writing works of fiction? For example, what kind of speech act does Tolkien perform in writing (1)?(1)            In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.In the philosophical debate on this question, by far the two most popular answers are the pretence view and the make-believe view. According to the pretence view, Tolkien doesn’t in fact perform any speech act in writing (1). He merely pretends to assert that there lived a hobbit in a hole in the ground, and thus his action lacks illocutionary force altogether. On the make-believe view, Tolkien prescribes the readers to make-believe that there lived a hobbit in a hole in the ground. His action is thus similar to everyday directive speech acts, such as suggestions and requests. My first aim in this talk is to introduce examples of insincere fictional statements that challenge these two views. My second aim is to argue that the examples support the view that Tolkien’s statement is an assertion. This view has been frequently dismissed, for instance by Sir Philip Sidney in his famous remark that “[t]he poet, he nothing affirmeth, and therefore never lieth”. I hope to show that the assertion view has been ruled out prematurely, and that a proper understanding of assertion in fiction allows for insights into the nature of assertion and insincere communication more generally. 
When: Wed 18 May 2022 15:30 – 17:00 Eastern Australia Time - Sydney
Where: Philosophy Seminar Room
Calendar: Seminars
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