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Nonexistent Objects

Edited by David Sanson (Illinois State University)
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  1. István Aranyosi (2013). God, Mind, and Logical Space. Palgrave Macmillan.
    In God, Mind and Logical Space István Aranyosi takes the reader on a journey for the mind by revisiting the fundamental questions and the everlasting debates in philosophy of religion, ontology, and the philosophy of mind. The first part deals with issues in ontology, and the author puts forward a radical view according to which all thinkable objects and states of affairs have an equal claim to existence in a way that renders existence a relative notion. In the second part (...)
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  2. István Aranyosi (2012). Talking About Nothing. Numbers, Hallucinations, and Fictions. Philosophy 87 (1):145-150.
    If everything exists, then it looks, prima facie, as if talking about nothing is equivalent to not talking about anything. However, we appear as talking or thinking about particular nothings, that is, about particular items that are not among the existents. How to explain this phenomenon? One way is to deny that everything exists, and consequently to be ontologically committed to nonexistent “objects”. Another way is to deny that the process of thinking about such nonexistents is a genuine singular thought. (...)
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  3. Jody Azzouni (2013). Hobnobbing with the Nonexistent. Inquiry 56 (4):340-358.
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  4. Stephen Barker (2015). Expressivism About Reference and Quantification Over the Non-Existent Without Meinongian Metaphysics. Erkenntnis 80 (S2):215-234.
    Can we believe that there are non-existent entities without commitment to the Meinongian metaphysics? This paper argues we can. What leads us from quantification over non-existent beings to Meinongianism is a general metaphysical assumption about reality at large, and not merely quantification over the non-existent. Broadly speaking, the assumption is that every being we talk about must have a real definition. It’s this assumption that drives us to enquire into the nature of beings like Pegasus, and what our relationship as (...)
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  5. Wolfgang Barz (2016). Two‐Dimensional Modal Meinongianism. Ratio 29 (3):249-267.
    The aim of this paper is to show that Priest's modal Meinongianism might benefit from joining forces with two-dimensionalism. For this purpose, I propose a two-dimensional solution to a problem for modal Meinongianism that is posed by Beall, Sauchelli, and Milne, and show that, by taking recourse to two-dimensionalism, divergent intuitions about the question of whether fictional characters might exist can be reconciled. Moreover, two-dimensionalism helps to rebut Kroon's argument to the conclusion that modal Meinongianism cannot rule out the odd (...)
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  6. Wolfgang Barz (2014). Doubts About One’s Own Existence. Inquiry 57 (5-6):645-668.
    The aim of this paper is to show that it is not irrational to doubt one’s own existence, even in the face of introspective evidence to the effect that one is currently in a certain mental state. For this purpose, I will outline a situation in which I do not exist, but which cannot be ruled out on the basis of any evidence available to me—including introspective evidence about my current mental states. I use this ‘superskeptical scenario,’ as I will (...)
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  7. Wolfgang Barz (2008). Aussersein des reinen Gegenstandes – ein Berührungspunkt zwischen Meinong und Quine. Zeitschrift für Philosophische Forschung 62 (3):358-384.
    Zusammenfassung. Im ersten Teil meines Aufsatzes versuche ich zu zeigen, dass Meinongs Satz vom Aussersein des reinen Gegenstandes auf Quines These hinausläuft, dass Variablen, die im Einflussbereich eines intentionalen Verbs liegen, nicht durch Quantoren gebunden werden können, die sich außerhalb dieses Bereichs befinden. Im zweiten Teil diskutiere ich eine Schwierigkeit für meine Interpretation: Meinong hält – im Gegensatz zu Quine – an der Idee fest, dass intentionale Zustände Relationen zwischen Personen und Gegenständen sind. Hätte Meinong diese Idee nicht fallenlassen müssen, (...)
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  8. George Bealer (1984). Review: Terence Parsons, Nonexistent Objects. [REVIEW] Journal of Symbolic Logic 49 (2):652-655.
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  9. José A. Benardete (1954). On Being and Nothing. Review of Metaphysics 7 (3):363 - 367.
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  10. Francesco Berto (2012). Existence as a Real Property. Synthèse Library, Springer.
    This book is both an introduction to and a research work on Meinongianism. “Meinongianism” is taken here, in accordance with the common philosophical jargon, as a general label for a set of theories of existence – probably the most basic notion of ontology. As an introduction, the book provides the first comprehensive survey and guide to Meinongianism and non-standard theories of existence in all their main forms. As a research work, the book exposes and develops the most up-to-date Meinongian theory (...)
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  11. Francesco Berto (2012). The Selection Problem. Revue Internationale de Philosophie 262:519-37.
    In 'Fiction and Fictionalism', Mark Sainsbury has recently dubbed “Selection Problem” a serious trouble for Meinongian object theories. Typically, Meinongianism has been phrased as a kind of realism on nonexistent objects : these are mind-independent things, not mental simulacra, having the properties they have independently from the activity of any cognitive agent. But how can one single out an object we have no causal acquaintance with, and which is devoid of spatiotemporal location, picking it out from a pre-determined, mind-independent set (...)
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  12. Francesco Berto (2011). Modal Meinongianism and Fiction: The Best of Three Worlds. Philosophical Studies 152 (3):313-35.
    We outline a neo-Meinongian framework labeled as Modal Meinongian Metaphysics (MMM) to account for the ontology and semantics of fictional discourse. Several competing accounts of fictional objects are originated by the fact that our talking of them mirrors incoherent intuitions: mainstream theories of fiction privilege some such intuitions, but are forced to account for others via complicated paraphrases of the relevant sentences. An ideal theory should resort to as few paraphrases as possible. In Sect. 1, we make this explicit via (...)
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  13. Francesco Berto (2010). L'esistenza Non È Logica: Dal Quadrato Rotondo Ai Mondi Impossibili. Laterza.
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  14. Francesco Berto (2008). Modal Meinongianism for Fictional Objects. Metaphysica 9 (2):205-218.
    Drawing on different suggestions from the literature, we outline a unified metaphysical framework, labeled as Modal Meinongian Metaphysics (MMM), combining Meinongian themes with a non-standard modal ontology. The MMM approach is based on (1) a comprehension principle (CP) for objects in unrestricted, but qualified form, and (2) the employment of an ontology of impossible worlds, besides possible ones. In §§1–2, we introduce the classical Meinongian metaphysics and consider two famous Russellian criticisms, namely (a) the charge of inconsistency and (b) the (...)
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  15. Francesco Berto & Graham Priest (2014). Modal Meinongianism and Characterization. Grazer Philosophische Studien 90:183-200.
    In this paper we reply to arguments of Kroon (“Characterization and Existence in Modal Meinongianism”. Grazer Philosophische Studien 86, 23–34) to the effect that Modal Meinongianism cannot do justice to Meinongian claims such as that the golden mountain is golden, and that it does not exist.
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  16. Larry Lee Blackman (1981). The Concept of Existence: A Study of Nonexistent Particulars. Philosophical Topics 12 (3):264-269.
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  17. Arkadiusz Chrudzimski (2013). Varieties of Intentional Objects. Semiotica 194 (194):189–206.
    In this paper I propose a certain classification of entities which are introduced in various theories of intentionality under the label ‘intentional objects’. Franz Brentano’s immanent objects, Alexius Meinong’s entities ‘beyond being and non-being’, or Roman Ingarden’s purely intentional objects can serve as examples of such entities. What they all have in common is that they have been introduced in order to extensionalise the so called ‘intentional contexts’ (‘intentional’ with ‘t’). But not all entities which function this way deserve the (...)
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  18. Arkadiusz Chrudzimski (2005). Drei Versionen der Meinongschen Logik. Zeitschrift für Philosophische Forschung 59 (1):49-70.
    Alexius Meinong nimmt in der Geschichte der Ontologie eine ausgezeichnete Stellung ein. Er war der erste Philosoph, der in systematischer Weise eine quasi-onto¬logische Disziplin entwickelte, die im Vergleich zu der Disziplin, die man traditionell Metaphysik oder Ontologie nennt, viel allgemeiner sein sollte. Die Metaphysik untersucht das Seiende als Seiendes, und die seienden Entitäten bilden – so die These Meinongs – nur ein kleines Fragment dessen, was man unter dem Namen „Gegenstands¬theorie” untersuchen kann. Die Gegenstände als solche sind „außerseiend”, d.h. sie (...)
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  19. Lenny Clapp (2009). The Problem of Negative Existentials Does Not Exist: A Case for Dynamic Semantics. Journal of Pragmatics 41 (7):1422-1434.
    The problem of negative existentials arises because utterances of such sentences have the paradoxical feature of denying what they presuppose, thus undermining their own truth. There are only two general strategies for solving the problem within the constraints traditional static semantics, and both strategies attempt to explain away this paradoxical feature. I argue that both strategies are fundamentally flawed, and that an adequate account of negative existentials must countenance, and not explain away, this paradoxical feature. Moreover, I argue that a (...)
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  20. Geraldine Coggins (2008). Metaphysical Nihilism. Philosophical Books 49 (3):229-237.
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  21. L. Jonathan Cohen (1968). Geach's Problem About Intentional Identity. Journal of Philosophy 65 (11):329-335.
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  22. Gabriele Contessa (2010). Scientific Models and Fictional Objects. Synthese 172 (2):215 - 229.
    In this paper, I distinguish scientific models in three kinds on the basis of their ontological status—material models, mathematical models and fictional models, and develop and defend an account of fictional models as fictional objects—i.e. abstract objects that stand for possible concrete objects.
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  23. Gabriele Contessa (2009). Who is Afraid of Imaginary Objects? In Nicholas Griffin & Dale Jacquette (eds.), Russell Vs. Meinong: The Legacy of "On Denoting". Routledge
    People often use expressions such as ‘Sherlock Holmes’ and ‘Pegasus’ that appear to refer to imaginary objects. In this paper, I consider the main attempts to account for apparent reference to imaginary objects available in the literature and argue that all fall short of being fully satisfactory. In particular, I consider the problems of two main options to maintain that imaginary objects are real and reference to them is genuine reference: possibilist and abstractist account. According to the former, imaginary objects (...)
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  24. Raul Corazzon, Richard Sylvan [Born Richard Routley] on Nonexistent Objects.
    "On the June 16th, 1996, Richard Sylvan died of a sudden and unexpected heart attack. His death, at the relatively young age of 60, robbed Australasia of one of its greatest philosophers, arguably the most original that it has ever produced. Richard was born Francis Richard Routley at Levin, New Zealand, on 13 December, 1935. He changed his name to Sylvan -- much to the confusion of a number of people -- when he remarried in 1983. After studying at the (...)
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  25. George Couvalis (forthcoming). Aristotle on Being. Modern Greek Studies (Australia and New Zealand).
    Aristotle explains existence through postulating essences that are intrinsic and percep- tion independent. I argue that his theory is more plausible than Hume’s and Russell’s theories of existence. Russell modifies Hume’s theory because he wants to allow for the existence of mathematical objects. However, Russell’s theory facilitates a problematic collapse of ontology into epistemology, which has become a feature of much analytic philosophy. This collapse obscures the nature of truth. Aristotle is to be praised for starting with a clear account (...)
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  26. Tim Crane (2012). What is the Problem of Non-Existence? Philosophia 40 (3):417-434.
    It is widely held that there is a problem of talking about or otherwise representing things that not exist. But what exactly is this problem? This paper presents a formulation of the problem in terms of the conflict between the fact that there are truths about non-existent things and the fact that truths must be answerable to reality, how things are. Given this, the problem of singular negative existential statements is no longer the central or most difficult aspect of the (...)
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  27. Charles Crittenden (1970). Ontology and the Theory of Descriptions. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 31 (1):85-96.
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  28. W. D. (1981). Nonexistent Objects. Review of Metaphysics 35 (1):151-153.
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  29. John P. Doyle (1995). Another God, Chimerae, Goat-Stags, and Man-Lions: A Seventeenth-Century Debate About Impossible Objects. Review of Metaphysics 48 (4):771 - 808.
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  30. Theodore J. Everett (2005). Are There Non-Existent Entities? In Larry Lee Blackman (ed.), The Philosophy of Panayot Butchvarov: a collegial evaluation. Edwin Mellen Press 3-19.
    There are things of which it is true to say that there are no such things. How can we resolve this paradox? Panayot Butchvarov argues that there are objects of reference that are not also entities, where the former must merely be thinkable but the latter must be indefinitely re-identifiable. This paper argues that fictional and many other unreal objects are indeed indefinitely re-identifiable, so they must be counted as existing things on Butchvarov's theory. The paradox is best resolved by (...)
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  31. J. N. Findlay (1933). Meinong's Theory of Objects. Oxford, H. Milford.
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  32. Marina Folescu (2015). Thinking About Different Nonexistents of the Same Kind. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 90 (3):n/a-n/a.
    How is it that, as fiction readers, we are nonplussed by J. K. Rowling's prescription to imagine Ronan, Bane, and Magorian, three different centaurs of the Forbidden Forrest at Hogwarts? It is usually held in the philosophical literature on fictional discourse that singular imaginings of fictional objects are impossible, given the blatant nonexistence of such objects. In this paper, I have a dual purpose: on the one hand, to show that, without being committed to Meinongeanism, we can explain the phenomenon (...)
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  33. David Friedell (2013). Salmon on Hob and Nob. Philosophical Studies 165 (1):213-220.
    Nathan Salmon appeals to his theory of mythical objects as part of an attempt to solve Geach’s Hob–Nob puzzle. In this paper I argue that, even if Salmon’s theory of mythical objects is correct, his attempt to solve the puzzle is unsuccessful. I also refute an original variant of his proposal. The discussion indicates that it is difficult (if not impossible) to devise a genuine solution to the puzzle that relies on mythical objects.
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  34. Philippe Gagnon (2015). New Arguments for 'Intelligent Design'? Review Article on William A. Dembski, Being as Communion: A Metaphysics of Information. [REVIEW] ESSSAT News and Reviews 25 (1):17-24.
    Critical notice assessing the use of information theory in the attempt to build a design inference, and to re-establish some aspects of the program of natural theology, as carried out in this third major monograph devoted to the subject of intelligent design theory by mathematician and philosopher William A. Dembski, after The Design Inference (1998) and No Free Lunch (2002).
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  35. Thibaut Giraud (forthcoming). On Modal Meinongianism. Synthese:1-18.
    Modal Meinongianism is a form of Meinongianism whose main supporters are Graham Priest and Francesco Berto. The main idea of modal Meinongianism is to restrict the logical deviance of Meinongian non-existent objects to impossible worlds and thus prevent it from “contaminating” the actual world: the round square is round and not round, but not in the actual world, only in an impossible world. In the actual world, supposedly, no contradiction is true. I will show that Priest’s semantics, as originally formulated (...)
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  36. Jeffrey Goodman (2010). Fictionalia as Modal Artifacts. Grazer Philosophische Studien 80 (1):21-46.
    Th ere is much controversy surrounding the nature of the relation between fictional individuals and possible individuals. Some have argued that no fictional individual is a possible individual; others have argued that (some) fictional individuals just are (merely) possible individuals. In this paper, I off er further grounds for believing the theory of fictional individuals defended by Amie Thomasson,viz., Artifactualism, by arguing that her view best allows one to make sense of this puzzling relation. More specifically, when we realize that (...)
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  37. Nicholas Griffin (2003). Foreword to the Importance of Nonexistent Objects and of Intensionality in Mathematics. Philosophia Mathematica 11 (1):16-19.
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  38. Nicholas Griffin (1983). Nonexistent Objects Terence Parsons New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1980. Pp. 258. $25.00. Dialogue 22 (1):178-180.
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  39. Reinhardt Grossmann (1984). Nonexistent Objects Versus Definite Descriptions. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 62 (4):363 – 377.
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  40. Reinhardt Grossmann (1969). Non-Existent Objects: Recent Work on Brentano and Meinong. American Philosophical Quarterly 6 (1):17 - 32.
  41. John Heawood (1993). Impossible Objects. Cogito 7 (3):179-187.
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  42. Herbert E. Hendry (1983). Nonexistent Objects. By Terence Parsons. Modern Schoolman 60 (3):215-216.
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  43. Jaakko Hintikka (1984). Are There Nonexistent Objects? Why Not? But Where Are They? Synthese 60 (3):451 - 458.
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  44. Herbert Hochberg (1985). Existence, Non-Existence, and Predication. Grazer Philosophische Studien 25:235-267.
    Two connected themes have been at the core of the old perplexity regarding thinking and speaking about non-existent objects. One involves a question of reference. Can we refer to non-existent objects without, thereby, recognizing, in some sense, non-existent entities as objects of reference? The other involves a question about existence. Is existence a property representable by a predicate in a logically adequate symbohsm? It is argued (1) that existence is not to be construed as an attribute represented by a predicate, (...)
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  45. Aviv Hoffman & Geraldine Coggins (2005). Metaphysics. Philosophical Books 46 (2):163-167.
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  46. Thomas Hofweber (2000). Quantification and Non-Existent Objects. In T. Hofweber & A. Everett (eds.), Empty Names, Fiction, and the Puzzles of Non-Existence. Csli Publications
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  47. Dale Jacquette (1999). Alexius Meinong's Elements of Ethics, with Translation of the Fragment Ethische Bausteine. Review of Metaphysics 52 (3):727-730.
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  48. Dale Jacquette (1996). Meinongian Logic: The Semantics of Existence and Nonexistence. W. De Gruyter.
    Introduction Alexius Meinong and his circle of students and collaborators at the Phi- losophisches Institut der Universitat Graz formulated the basic ...
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  49. Dale Jacquette (1995). Meinong's Concept of Implexive Being and Nonbeing. Grazer Philosophische Studien 50:233-271.
    Meinong introduces the concept of implexive being and nonbeing to explain the metaphysics of universals, and as a contribution to the theory of reference and perception. Meinong accounts for Aristotle's doctrine of the inherence of secondary substances in primary substances in object theory terms as the implection of incomplete universals in complete existent or subsistent objects. The derivative notion of implexive so-being is developed by Meinong to advance an intuitive modal semantics that admits degrees of possibility. A set theoretical interpretation (...)
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  50. Dale Jacquette (1982). Meinong's Theory of Defective Objects. Grazer Philosophische Studien 15:1-19.
    Meinong's theory of defective objects in On Emotional Presentation is ambiguous in ways which give rise to a dilemma. It is not clear whether or not defective objects are supposed to be a special kind of intentional object. If they are intentional objects, then a strengthened version of Mally's paradox about self-referential thought can be given which contradicts the intentionality thesis. But if they are not intentional objects, then thoughts with defective objects themselves constitute immediate counter-examples to the intentionality thesis. (...)
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