Kolokvium Thinking and Speaking about Fictional Worlds

One of the founders and leading figures of the fictional worlds theory, Lubomír Doležel (1922–2017), participated in several Prague Interpretation Colloquia and in resulting publications. “Fictional world” was one of the most frequent terms in the discussions held within this series. This time we propose it as the central topic and invite the participants to discuss the variety of questions it raises, among them:

(1) Should we assume that reading a text of narrative fiction directs our thoughts, imagination, sensitivity, moral attitudes etc. to a fictional world created by an author? Or is it sufficient to say that it relates us to an alternative state of the real world, like the ordinary talk about counterfactual scenarios?

(2) Is the assumption of fictional worlds necessary in order to assign a domain of discourse to the texts of narrative fiction and to guarantee the referential function of singular terms, which occur in them? Or what are the alternatives?

(3) How should the author’s description of people, events, places etc. be interpreted by the reader? As a complete description of (necessarily) incomplete fictional entities or, like in the ordinary discourse, as a (necessarily) incomplete description of complete entities?

(4) What is the relation between the theoretical talk about fictional worlds and the claim that reading fiction and (at least part of) the talk about fiction takes place in the mode of pretense (as if, make-belief)? When (and in what respects) do they compete and when do they complement one another?

(5) How does the notion of fictional worlds apply to non-narrative literary forms, such as lyric poetry, and how does it apply to other media than literature, such as theatre, film, or video games? Can we apply the same notion of fictional worlds across all these domains or does it require significant modifications?

Speakers: Espen Aarseth, Carola Barbero, Josep Corbí, Gregory Currie, Pawel Grabarczyk, Bohumil Fořt, Radovan D. Kokeš, Petr Koťátko, Thomas Pavel, Anders Pettersson, Niklas Forsberg, Marion Renauld, Göran Rossholm, Fredrik Stjernberg, Ondřej Sládek, Enrico Terrone, Lee Walters, Zsofia Zvolenszky.

Colloquium coordinator: Tomáš Koblížek, PhD., Institute of Philosophy, koblizek@flu.cas.cz