Mere possibilities: A Bolzanian approach to non-actual objects

Journal of the History of Philosophy 45 (4):525-550 (2007)
Abstract
: The paper is a detailed reconstruction of Bernard Bolzano's account of merely possible objects, which is a part of his ontology that has been widely ignored in the literature so far. According to Bolzano, there are some objects which are merely possible. While they are neither denizens of space and time nor members of the causal order, they could have been so. Thus, on Bolzano's view there are, for example, merely possible persons, i.e., objects which are neither actual nor persons but which could have been both. In course of the development of Bolzano's views, they are contrasted with the better known theory of his compatriot Alexius Meinong, and it is shown that they have a modern counterpart in the accounts of merely possible objects that were developed by Bernard Linsky and Ed Zalta, and by Timothy Williamson
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