Fictionalism  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Fictionalism is a methodological theory in philosophy that suggests that statements of a certain sort should not be taken to be literally true, but merely as a useful fiction. Two important strands of fictionalism are modal fictionalism (which states that possible worlds, regardless of whether they exist or not, may be a part of a useful discourse) and mathematical fictionalism, which states that talk of numbers and other mathematical objects is nothing more than a convenience for doing science. Also in meta-ethics, there is an equivalent position called moral fictionalism.

Fictionalism consists in at least the following three theses:

  1. Claims made within the domain of discourse are taken to be truth-apt; that is, true or false.
  2. The domain of discourse is to be interpreted at face value--not reduced to meaning something else.
  3. The aim of discourse in any given domain is not truth, but some other virtue(s) (e.g., simplicity, explanatory scope).

See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Fictionalism" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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