The authors consider a recurring objection to fictional realism, the view that (broadly speaking) fictional characters are objects. The authors call this the counting objection. Russell presses a version of the objection against Meinong’s view. Everett presses a version of the objection against contemporary fictional realist views, as (in effect) do Nolan and Sandgren. As the authors see it, the objection assumes that the fictional realist must provide criteria of identity for fictional characters, so its force depends on the plausibility of that assumption. Rather than coming up with such criteria, a fictional realist might argue that the demand is misplaced.
MeinongAlexius1904: “Über Gegenstandstheorie”. In: MeinongAlexius (ed.), Untersuchungen zur Gegenstandstheorie und Psychologie. Leipzig: Barth, 1–51. Translated by Isaac Levi, D.B. Terrell, and Roderick M. Chisholm as “The Theory of Objects” in:
Realism and the Background of Phenomenology, edited by Roderick M. Chisholm, Glencoe, il: Free Press, 76–117.
QuineWillard Van Orman1948: “On What There Is”. Review of Metaphysics2, 21–38. Reprinted in: Willard Van Orman Quine, From a Logical Point of View: Nine Logico-Philosophical Essays, Cambridge, ma: Harvard University Press, 1953, 1–19.
ZaltaEdward N.2000: “The Road Between Pretense Theory and Abstract Object Theory”. In: EverettAnthony and HofweberThomas (eds.), Empty Names, Fiction and the Puzzles of Non-Existence. Stanford: csli, 117–147.