Fictionalism [fik-shuhn-ahl-izuhm] is the view in philosophy according to which statements that appear to be descriptions of the world should not be construed as such, but should instead be understood as cases of ‘make believer,’ of pretending to treat something as literally true (a ‘useful fiction’).

Two important strands of fictionalism are modal fictionalism developed by Princeton philosopher Gideon Rosen, which states that possible worlds, regardless of whether they exist or not, may be a part of a useful discourse, and mathematical fictionalism advocated by NYU philosopher Hartry Field, which states that talk of numbers and other mathematical objects is nothing more than a convenience for doing science.

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