Fictional characters

Arizona Bill has been discussing the metaphysics of fiction (again) with adversary London Ed.  This time we seem to have got a little further than before.  See here for the latest.  One question we have is How are we to understand
1. Frodo is a purely fictional character?
In particular, does it licence the inference to
2. There are purely fictional characters?
My reply is No and Yes.  There are two distinct but related meanings embedded in (1).  To bring this out,  let me simplify the context considerably.  Consider the following tiny dialogue:
Al: I met this chap called Soc in the pub last night.  Soc is a philosopher.
Beth: I don't believe you.  Soc is a purely fictional character.
Al is making an existential assertion:  There is a philosopher called Soc.  Beth is denying this.  She is not attributing the property of fictional characterhood to the entity Soc.  Her utterance, 'Soc is a purely fictional character' is not intended indicatively and does not supply information about Soc.  It simply rejects Al's existential assertion. Hence it does not licence the inference to (2). Moreover,  it shouldn't be seen as a continuation of Al's text about Soc, to be made sense of as part of his story.  It can't be.  It contradicts Al's story!  There is no point in trying to formulate a logical language in which Al's assertion and Beth's can be seen together as an integrated whole.  They are fundamentally antagonistic.

Suppose now that Al is, objectively, a fabulist.  He has a history of inventing personages met in pubs.  The dialogue might then go like this:
Al: I met this chap called Soc in the pub last night.  Soc is a philosopher.
Beth: Honestly, Al. Soc is just another of your purely fictional characters.
This time Beth's statement is intended indicatively.  In the larger context of Al's repeated story-telling Beth sees Soc as a van Inwagen creature of fiction.  To get this view we must stand back from Al's utterance.  We must see it not only for its meaning but also for itself as an act of speech.  To  the exasperated Beth it's just another fabulation in a long series of such.  So Beth is attending to Al's speech as one of a series of meaning-laden acts or events.  She is making a semantic ascent.  At this level Al's Soc is indeed a purely fictional character and the inference (2) that there are such things is justified.

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