We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Durham University

Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (IMEMS)


The list below shows Durham University research staff who are members of IMEMS. Click the member's name to see a more detailed biography and department.

We also welcome anyone from outside the University with an interest in our work to join. Membership is free of charge. You will receive invitations to our programme of events, with a weekly emails digest about what is happening in the Insitute and further afield. To join IMEMS contact:

Publication details for Dr Sara L. Uckelman

Uckelman, Sara L. & Chan, Phoebe (2016). Against Truth-Conditional Theories of Meaning: Three Lessons from the Language(s) of Fiction. Res Philosophica 2(93): 1-19.

Author(s) from Durham


Fictional discourse and fictional languages provide useful test cases for theories of meaning. In this paper, we argue against truth-conditional accounts of meaning on the basis of problems posed by language(s) of fiction. It is well-known how fictional discourse—discourse about nonexistent objects—poses a problem for truth-conditional theories of meaning. Less well-considered, however, are the problems posed by fictional languages, which can be created to either be meaningful or not to be meaningful; both of these ultimately also provide problems for a truthconditional account of meaning, because it cannot account for the ways in which we use and evaluate such fictional languages. Instead, a pragmatic or use-based account provides a better explanation for some of the phenomena we discuss.