On 20/02/14 16:21, Martin Holmes wrote:
> There is by no means a clear distinction between a real person
> and a fictional person; "real" people appear in fiction all the
> time doing things they never really did. In some contexts
> (biblical "history", for instance), it's impossible to know
> whether a figure in a text represents a genuine historical
> figure or not; wars are fought over such things. Was Jesus
> real? How about Noah or Jonah? What about Homer? Do I don't
> think it makes sense to say that <person> can only be used for
> "real" people, although it may not be appropriate for
Isn't this really an argument for @type on person? I don't
distinguish between real and fictional people, one could argue
that everyone outside of me is fictional in one way or another.
Can you really 'know' another person? (And other predictably
sophomoric questions...) I don't really believe in Homer, but
would have no qualms making a person element for him (or his
distant metaphysical relation Homer Simpson).
> David and I had a brief exchange offline along similar lines.
> What we're really talking about is the idea of a persona rather
> than a person. I suggested that as soon as we start considering
> this, we almost inevitably slide into judgements with regard to
> the ascendency of one personality or role over another, which
> may or may not be justifiable, and may or may not align with
> the putative views of the people or characters concerned. For
> instance, if an upstanding member of society has an alter-ego
> who is a serial killer (complete with fake name, phony id,
> etc.), then the serial killer surely exists as a "person" from
> the point of view of the community being preyed on; and while
> perhaps we might justifiably claim that the person's "real"
> identity is their everyday persona, when the killer is
> unmasked, most people in the community would probably feel that
> his "real" identity was as the killer, and that his everyday
> persona was an assumed disguise. The killer himself might feel
> that way, even though he perhaps only inhabits the secret
> persona for a small proportion of his life.
To me, Robby the Robot is a <person>, as is Koko the Gorrilla. As
soon as you can ascribe names, states, and especially supposed
sentience to something; or as soon as as it is an object of
personification or anthropomorphic description, whether real,
fictional, accurate, or delusional, then it is a <person> in my
mind. If it is a <person> in my mind, then the correct encoding
for it is as a <person>. One <person> in his time plays many
parts, whether those parts count as an additional <person> or not
depends on whether the encoder views this as merely an <event> or
<occupation> of the person, or whether they view this as
Just some inane wittering I thought I'd throw into the mix.
Dr James Cummings, [log in to unmask]
Academic IT Services, University of Oxford
* English - detected