Fictional persons and characters: International Online Workshop

deadline for submissions: 
June 20, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
Complutense University of Madrid
contact email: 

Fictional persons and characters

International Online Workshop
October 12, 2022

It is tempting to think of fictional characters as if they were fictional persons. The inhabitants of a fictional world, where they live and engage in meaningful interactions as we do in the real world. However, this conception is problematic. First, because the concept of “person” is far from being clear. Are persons to be defined in physical or mental terms? And even if we restrict ourselves to a Lockean framework where persons are defined in mental terms, regardless of their physical features, could other entities besides human beings achieve full personhood?

On the other hand, fictional characters might be hugely different from what we think of when we are asked to imagine a person. They might have an animal or a robotic body, they might be super intelligent beings or really simple-minded, they might be constantly changing both their minds and bodies while still being considered as the same character…

This online workshop intends to analyze the similarity between persons and characters from a wide range of perspectives, including philosophy and literary theory. Possible topics include:

- What is a fictional character?
- What are the differences between a fictional character and a person?
- What are the limits of a fictional character?
- What are the identity conditions of fictional characters?
- Analysis of novels, stories and films that could enlighten the concept of “fictional character”

Format: The conference will be held online. Invited speakers will have 30 minutes to present their papers, followed by 10 minutes for questions. Those interested in participating should send a 500-word abstract, including a short biography, to by June 20, 2022. The conference will be in English and attendance is free.