Not all philosophers think that fictional objects/persons are possible objects/persons. Saul Kripke doesn't:Tamminen wrote: ↑August 13th, 2018, 8:54 amA unicorn is a mental construct with no real correlate even if the possibility of its real correlate were posited. It is the same with the mental construct of the world without subjects, with the difference that even the possibility of its existence cannot be consistently posited. But there are real cows in our real world. What did I miss?
https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/poss ... jects/#Uni
Kripke's view has the consequence that all fictional/mythical objects (known to be fictional/mythical and thus to be nonactual) are impossible objects, i.e. objects which couldn't have actually existed. So neither unicorns nor Sherlock Holmes could have existed.
In his own words:
"I shall try to give a brief explanation of the strange view of unicorns advocated in the text. There were two theses: first a metaphysical thesis that no counterfactual situation is properly describable as one in which there would have been unicorns; second, an epistemological thesis that an archeological discovery that there were animals with all the features attributed to unicorns in the appropriate myth would not in and of itself constitute proof that there were unicorns.
As to the metaphysical thesis, the argument basically is the following. Just as tigers are an actual species, so the unicorns are a mythical species. Now tigers, as I argue in the third lecture, cannot be defined simply in terms of their appearance; it is possible that there should have been a different species with all the external appearances of tigers but which had a different internal structure and therefore was not the species of tigers. We may be misled into thinking otherwise by the fact that actually no such 'fool's tigers' exist, so that in practice external appearance is sufficient to identify the species. Now there is no actual species of unicorns, and regarding the several distinct hypothetical species, with different internal structures (some reptilic, some mammalian, some amphibious), which would have the external appearances postulated to hold of unicorns in the myth of the unicorn, one cannot say which of these distinct mythical species would have been the unicorns. If we suppose, as I do, that the unicorns of the myth were supposed to be a particular species, but that the myth provides insufficient information about their internal structure to determine a unique species, then there is no actual or possible species of which we can say that it would have been the species of unicorns.
The epistemological thesis is more easily argued. If a story is found describing a substance with the physical appearance of gold, one cannot conclude on this basis that it is talking about gold; it may be talking about 'fools' gold'. What substance is being discussed must be determined as in the case of proper names: by the historical connection of the story with a certain substance. When the connection is traced, it may well turn out that the substance dealt with was gold, 'fools' gold', or something else. Similarly, the mere discovery of animals with the properties attributed to unicorns in the myth would by no means show that these were the animals the myth was about: perhaps the myth was spun out of whole cloth, and the fact that animals with the same appearance actually existed was mere coincidence. In that case, we cannot say that the unicorns of the myth really existed; we must also establish a historical connection that shows that the myth is about these animals.
I hold similar views regarding fictional proper names. The mere discovery that there was indeed a detective with exploits like those of Sherlock Holmes would not show that Conan Doyle was writing about this man; it is theoretically possible, though in practice fantastically unlikely, that Doyle was writing pure fiction with only a coincidental resemblance to the actual man. (See the characteristic disclaimer: 'The characters in this work are fictional, and any resemblance to anyone, living or dead, is purely coincidental.') Similarly, I hold the metaphysical view that, granted that there is no Sherlock Holmes, one cannot say of any possible person that he would have been Sherlock Holmes, had he existed. Several distinct possible people, and even actual ones such as Darwin or Jack the Ripper, might have performed the exploits of Holmes, but there is none of whom we can say that he would have been Holmes had he performed these exploits. For if so, which one? I thus could no longer write, as I once did, that 'Holmes does not exist, but in other states of affairs, he would have existed.' … The quoted assertion gives the erroneous impression that a fictional name such as 'Holmes' names a particular possible-but-not-actual individual."
(Kripke, Saul A. Naming and Necessity. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1980. pp. 156-58)