Document Type

Thesis

Degree

Master of Arts

Major

Philosophy

Date of Defense

3-19-2010

Graduate Advisor

Prof. Stephanie A. Ross

Committee

Berit Brogaard

Eric Wiland

Abstract

This paper explores the ramifications of a central question concerning our everyday experience with film and other art forms: how it is possible to recognize a character in a sequel or related artwork as the exact same character as that found in the original or previous artwork. My main goal is to determine necessary and sufficient identity conditions for fictional film characters which may adequately account for our everyday discussion of these characters. After addressing several intuitions which any theory of fictional characters must address, I propose that film and other characters should be best understood as “abstract artifacts” following the Amie Thomasson’s artifactual theory of fictional characters. I then propose Thomasson’s theory as the best way to explain fictional characters and apply her theory to film characters, before addressing two interesting and problematic examples of film characters.

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