Graduate studies at Western
|Abstract||Whether or not there are non-existent objects seems to be one of the more mysterious and speculative issues in ontology.1 To affirm that there are non-existent objects is to affirm that reality consists of two kinds of things, the existing and the non-existing. The existing contains all of what is in our space-time world, plus all abstract objects, if there are any. Most people, it seems fair to say, would think that this is all there is. For them the only real question in ontology can be what kinds of existing things there are. However, followers of Meinong maintain that this isn’t all there is. There is also another kind of things, those that do not exist. And to say this, the Meinongians continue, is to accept that reality is divided into two basic kinds of things, the existing and the non-existing. Whether or not reality contains two basic categories of things, existing and non-existing, or only one, existing, is what the debate about non-existent objects is all about. And as such it seems to be the most speculative of the debates in ontology. How could we human beings possibly decide it? One might think that to find out whether or not there are abstract objects is hard to decide, since they are not in space and time, causally inaccessible, unobservable, etc.. But whatever difficulty there might be to answer the question whether or not there are abstract objects, it has to be even harder to decide whether or not there are non-existent objects. Abstract objects, if there are any, at least..|
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