Artifactualism about fictional characters, positing Harry Potter as an abstract artifact created by J. K. Rowling, has been criticized on the grounds that the idea of creating such objects is mysterious and problematic. In the light of such qualms, it is worth homing in on an argument in favor of artifactualism, showing that it is the best way to include the likes of Harry Potter in our ontology precisely because it incorporates authorial creation. To that end, I will be exploring Kripke’s fleeting remarks in the Addenda to his “Naming and Necessity” lectures about expressions like ‘unicorn’ and ‘Harry Potter’. Elsewhere, Kripke motivates artifactualism by suggesting that incorporating authorial creation (as artifactualism does) is a move that is intuitive and natural; but beyond this, he doesn’t provide any arguments in favor of such a move. My purpose in this paper is to construct such an argument based on considerations about Kripke’s general view about proper names, in particular, his seminal causal-historical chain account of reference determination, and its consequences for fictional names as well as nonfictional names without bearers such as ‘Vulcan’.
Abstract artifacts, causal-historical chain theory of reference determination, Kripke, proper names, realism about fictional character, semantics of fictional discourse.