Eduard Marbach: "On Fictional Intentionality and Reference in a Phenomenological Perspective"

Lecture by Eduard Marbach, Department of Philosophy, University of Bern, Switzerland.

There is widespread agreement among philosophers that we refer to, think or talk about, non-existent objects in much the same way as we refer to, think or talk about, other objects. This paper explores the case of objects of fiction in the perspective of Husserlian philosophical phenomenology. In this perspective, everything objective is dealt with as object of some consciousness and as presenting itself in subjective modes. Within the scope of this paper, the focus of the descriptive analysis will be on showing in some detail how conscious experiences of intentionally referring to something fictive in pre-linguistic intuitive acts of imagining something are to be articulated with regard to the object of consciousness, i.e. noematically, and with regard to the intentional act, i.e. noetically. Special attention will be given to the reflective finding of some consciousness being intentionally implied and thereby modified in the very performance of an intentional act of re-presenting (/vergegenwärtigen/) something in fiction and to the question of identity and individuation of objects in fiction. It will be argued that modifications occurring in re-presentational consciousness, which Husserl called ‘as-if’ or ‘quasi’ modifications, provide the key for understanding the phenomenology of fictional intentionality and reference.