As I see it, the central problem in the philosophy of fiction is to find a solution to the following aporetic dyad:
1. There are no purely fictional items.
2. There are some purely fictional items.
The problem is that while the limbs of the dyad cannot both be true, there is reason to think that each is true.
(1) looks to be an analytic truth: by definition, what is purely fictional is not, i.e., does not exist. George Harvey Bone, the main character in Patrick Hamilton's 1941 booze novel Hangover Square, does not now and never did exist. He is not a real alcoholic like his creator, Patrick Hamilton, who was a real alcoholic. What is true is that
3. Bone is a purely fictional alcoholic.
That (3) is true is clear from the fact that if a student wrote on a test that Bone was a teetotaler, his answer would be marked wrong. But if (3) is true, then, given that nothing can satisfy a predicate unless it exists, it follows that
4. Bone exists
and, given the validity of Existential Generalization, it follows that
5. There is a purely fictional alcoholic.
But if (5) is true, then so is (2).
It should now be spectacularly obvious what the problem is. There are two propositions, each the logical contradictory of the other, which implies that they cannot both be true, and yet we have excellent reason to think that both are true.
Now what are all the possible ways of solving this problem? I need a list. London Ed et al. can help me construct it. Right now all I want is a list, a complete list if possible, not arguments for or against any item on the list. Not all of the following are serious contenders, but I am aiming at completeness.
A. Dialetheism. Accept dialetheism, which amounts to the claim that there are true contradictions and that the Law of Non-Contradiction (LNC) is false.
B. Paraphrasticism. Reject (2) by attempting to show that sentences such as (3) can be paraphrased in such a way that the apparent reference to ficta is eliminated. For example, one might offer the following paraphrase of (3): 'Hamilton wrote a story implying that here is an alcoholic named Bone.' The paraphrastic approach works only if every reference to a fictional item, whether it be a person or place or event or fiction, can be paraphrased away. (As Kripke and others have noted, there are fictional fictions, fictional plays for example, such as a fictional play referenced within a play.)
C. Logic Reform. Reject Existential Generalization (off load existence from the particular quantifier) and reject the anti-Meinongian principle that nothing can satisfy a predicate (or exemplify a property) unless it exists. One could then block the inference from (3) to (2).
D. Ontology Reform. Reject (1) by arguing that fictional items, without prejudice to their being purely fictional, do exist. Saul Kripke, for example, maintains that a fictional character is an abstract entity that "exists in virtue of more concrete activities of telling stories, writing plays, writing novels, and so on . . . the same way that a nation is an abstract entity which exists in virtue of concrete relations between people." (Reference and Existence: The John Locke Lectures, Oxford UP, 2013, p. 73.) Or one might hold that fictional items are abstract items that exist necessarily like numbers.
E. Dissolutionism. Somehow argue that the problem as posed above is a pseudoproblem that doesn't need solving but dissolving. One might perhaps argue that one or the other of the dyad's limbs has not even a prima facie claim on our acceptance.
F. Neitherism. Reject both limbs. Strategy (A) rejects LNC. This strategy rejects the Law of Excluded Middle. (Not promising, but I'm aiming for completeness.)
G. Mysterianism. Accept both limbs but deny that they are mutually contradictory. Maintain that our cognitive limitations make it either presently or permanently impossible for us to understand how the limbs can be both true and non-contradictory. "They are both true; reality is non-contradictory; but it is a mystery how!"
H. Buddhism. Reject the tetralemma: neither (1) nor (2), nor both, nor neither.
I. Hegelianism. Propose a grand synthesis in which thesis (1) and antithesis (2) are aufgehoben, simultaneously cancelled and preserved. (I have no idea what this would look like -- again, I want a complete list of options.)
First question: Have I covered all the bases? Or are there solution strategies that cannot be brought under one of the above heads? If you think there are, tell me what you think they are. But don't mention something that is subsumable under one of (A)-(I).
Second question (for London Ed): under which head would you book your solution? Do you favor the paraphrastic approach sketched in (B) or not? Or maybe Ed thinks that the problem as I have formulated it is a pseudoproblem (option (E)).
Be a good sport, Ed, play along and answer my questions.