Abstract: Sherlock Holmes is a fictional individual. So is his favorite pipe. Our pre-theoretical intuition says that neither of them is real. It says that neither of them really, or actually, exists. It also says that there is a sense in which they do exist, namely, a sense in which they exist “in the world of” the Sherlock Holmes stories. Our pre-theoretical intuition says in general of any fictional individual that it does not actually exist but exists “in the world of” the relevant fiction. I wish to defend this pre-theoretical intuition. To do so, I need to defend two claims: that fictional individuals do not actually exist, and that they exist “in the world of” the relevant fiction. The aim of this paper is to defend the first claim.
Comment: A good argument against the existence of fictional characters. Clear presentation of the logic involved in various claims. In addition to ontology of art, the case of fictional characters can be an interesting way to present the arguments about ontology and linguistic commitment more generally, and this paper would be useful in that role as well.