Edited by Daniel Z. Korman (University of California at Santa Barbara)
Assistant editor: Andrew Higgins (Illinois State University)
About this topic

Objects are subjects of predication: anything of which something can be said is an object. So construed, the category of objects covers not only material beings like mountains, baseballs, and electrons, but also abstracta (numbers, properties, relations, set). and even non-existent entities if there be any. The papers contained herein concern the nature and existence of different varieties of objects. Some of the most prominent topics include the relation between an objects and the properties it bears; the relation between an object and its parts (mereology); the identity relation that holds between an object and itself; and the persistence of objects through time.  

Key works

For work on the nature and existence of abstract objects, see Quine 1961, Bealer 1982, Armstrong 1989, and Dorr 2008.

For work on persistence, see Hirsch 1982Hawley 2001, and Sider 2001.

For work on identity, see Black 1952Kripke 1971, and Adams 1979.


For an introduction to the notion of a object, see Laycock 2010. For abstract objects, see Rosen 2008. For material objects, see van Inwagen 1990 and Korman 2011.

Related categories
Abstract Objects (581 | 543)
Properties* (2,755 | 110)
Ontology of Music* (508 | 325)
Ontology of Mathematics* (2,224 | 302)
Words* (536)
The Nature of Sets* (233 | 96)
Numbers* (345)
Ontology of Mathematics* (2,224 | 302)

6015 found
1 — 50 / 6015
  1. Sympathy for the Scientist: Re-Calibrating a Heideggerian Critique of Metaphysics.Jonathan Morgan - manuscript
    This paper attempts to develop an ethico-aesthetic framework for enriching one's life and ethical outlook. Drawing primarily from Nietzsche, Foucault, and Heidegger, an argument is made that Heidegger's understanding of this issue was mistaken. The ontological crisis of modernity is not the overt influence of mathematics as a worldview over poetics and more traditionally aesthetic approaches. It is the rampant mis-and over-application of abstraction within one's view of the world while denying the material realities of life as we live it. (...)
  2. Putnam, Peano, and the Malin Génie: Could We Possibly Bewrong About Elementary Number-Theory?Christopher Norris - 2002 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 33 (2):289-321.
    This article examines Hilary Putnam's work in the philosophy of mathematics and - more specifically - his arguments against mathematical realism or objectivism. These include a wide range of considerations, from Gödel's incompleteness-theorem and the limits of axiomatic set-theory as formalised in the Löwenheim-Skolem proof to Wittgenstein's sceptical thoughts about rule-following, Michael Dummett's anti-realist philosophy of mathematics, and certain problems – as Putnam sees them – with the conceptual foundations of Peano arithmetic. He also adopts a thought-experimental approach – a (...)
  3. Towards a Pluralist Theory of Singular Thought.Michele Palmira - 2018 - Synthese 195 (9):3947-3974.
    This paper investigates the question of how to correctly capture the scope of singular thinking. The first part of the paper identifies a scope problem for the dominant view of singular thought maintaining that, in order for a thinker to have a singular thought about an object o, the thinker has to bear a special epistemic relation to o. The scope problem has it is that this view cannot make sense of the singularity of our thoughts about objects to which (...)
  4. Causal Powers and Isomeric Chemical Kinds.Andrew McFarland - 2018 - Synthese 195 (4):1441-1457.
    Some philosophers have claimed that kinds can be construed as mereologically complex structural properties. This essay examines several strategies aimed at construing a certain class of natural kinds, namely isomeric chemical kinds, in accordance with this view. In particular, the essay examines views which posit structural proper parts in addition to micro-constitutive parts to individuate isomeric chemical kinds. It then goes on to argue that the phenomenon of chirality in stereochemistry gives the proponent of kinds-as-complex-properties evidence for positing the existence (...)
  5. Towards a Unified Framework for Decomposability of Processes.Valtteri Lahtinen & Antti Stenvall - 2017 - Synthese 194 (11):4411-4427.
    The concept of process is ubiquitous in science, engineering and everyday life. Category theory, and monoidal categories in particular, provide an abstract framework for modelling processes of many kinds. In this paper, we concentrate on sequential and parallel decomposability of processes in the framework of monoidal categories: We will give a precise definition, what it means for processes to be decomposable. Moreover, through examples, we argue that viewing parallel processes as coupled in this framework can be seen as a category (...)
  6. Chapter 6: Reifying Terms.Friederike Moltmann - 2013 - In Abstract Objects and the Semantics of Natural Language. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    This chapter develops a semantics for 'reifying terms' of the sort 'the proposition that S', 'the fact that S', 'the property of being P', 'the number eight', 'the concept horse', 'the truth value true', 'the kind humane being'. This semantics is developed within the broader perspective of the ontology of natural language involving abstract objects only at its periphery, not its core.
  7. Nominalization, Specification, and Investigation.Richard Lawrence - 2017 - Dissertation, University of California, Berkeley
    Frege famously held that numbers play the role of objects in our language and thought, and that this role is on display when we use sentences like "The number of Jupiter's moons is four". I argue that this role is an example of a general pattern that also encompasses persons, times, locations, reasons, causes, and ways of appearing or acting. These things are 'objects' simply in the sense that they are answers to questions: they are the sort of thing we (...)
  8. The Adequacy of Resemblance Nominalism About Perfect Naturalness.Ralf Busse - 2016 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research:443-469.
    Resemblance Nominalism About Perfect Naturalness is the view that perfect naturalness of classes is best defined by a conceptual primitive of resemblance between particulars. The adequacy of RNPN is defended by outlining nominalism as the strictly anti-constitutive view that the particulars’ being the fundamental ways they are is not constituted by anything further, supplying a doubly plural contrastive and graded resemblance predicate that allows for a definition of perfect naturalness on an actualist basis, and proving a representation and a uniqueness (...)
  9. Indiscernible Universals.Gonzalo Rodriguez-Pereyra - 2017 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 60 (6):604-624.
    Universals have traditionally thought to obey the identity of indiscernibles, that is, it has traditionally been thought that there can be no perfectly similar universals. But at least in the conception of universals as immanent, there is nothing that rules out there being indiscernible universals. In this paper, I shall argue that there is useful work indiscernible universals can do, and so there might be reason to postulate indiscernible universals. In particular, I shall argue that postulating indiscernible universals can allow (...)
  10. Can Emotions Have Abstract Objects? The Example of Awe.Fredericks Rachel - 2018 - Philosophia 46 (3):733-746.
    Can we feel emotions about abstract objects, assuming that abstract objects exist? I argue that at least some emotions can have abstract objects as their intentional objects and discuss why this conclusion is not just trivially true. Through critical engagement with the work of Dacher Keltner and Jonathan Haidt, I devote special attention to awe, an emotion that is particularly well suited to show that some emotions can be about either concrete or abstract objects. In responding to a possible objection, (...)
  11. Categoricity, Open-Ended Schemas and Peano Arithmetic.Adrian Ludușan - 2015 - Logos and Episteme 6 (3):313-332.
    One of the philosophical uses of Dedekind’s categoricity theorem for Peano Arithmetic is to provide support for semantic realism. To this end, the logical framework in which the proof of the theorem is conducted becomes highly significant. I examine different proposals regarding these logical frameworks and focus on the philosophical benefits of adopting open-ended schemas in contrast to second order logic as the logical medium of the proof. I investigate Pederson and Rossberg’s critique of the ontological advantages of open-ended arithmetic (...)
  12. Jakub Mácha, Wittgenstein on Internal and External Relations: Tracing All the Connections . 262 Pages. Hardcover ISBN 9781474242141. [REVIEW]Aloisia Moser - 2017 - Philosophical Investigations 40 (1).
  13. Problém abstraktních pojmů: Odpověď Davidu Peroutkovi.Lukáš Novák - 2007 - Studia Neoaristotelica 4 (1):90-95.
  14. Problém abstraktních pojmů: Odpověď bosým karmelitánům.Lukáš Novák - 2007 - Studia Neoaristotelica 4 (2):185-192.
  15. The Scotist Theory of Univocity: A Journal of Analytic Scholasticism.Lukáš Novák - 2006 - Studia Neoaristotelica 3 (1):17-27.
    The article explains the notion of univocity in line with the mature Scotistic doctrine, which plays so crucial a role in the Scotistic rejection of analogy as a middle ground between univocity and pure equivocity. Since univocity of a concept is found to consist in its perfect unity, and the perfect unity of a concept is achieved by means of perfect abstraction, the notion of this so-called abstraction by precision is made clear and contrasted with the so-called abstraction by confusion, (...)
  16. The Nominalist Argument of the New Essays.Martha Brandt Bolton - 1996 - The Leibniz Review 6:1-24.
  17. Solution of a Mathematical Problem in the Theory of Heredity.Sergei N. Bernshtein - 1976 - Social Science Information 15 (4-5):797-821.
  18. Précis Zu Talking About Numbers. Easy Arguments for Mathematical Realism.Katharina Felka - 2016 - Zeitschrift für Philosophische Forschung 70 (4):400-405.
  19. Jakub Mácha, Wittgenstein on Internal and External Relations: Tracing All the Connections . 262 Pages. Hardcover ISBN 9781474242141. [REVIEW]Aloisia Moser - 2016 - Philosophical Investigations 39 (4).
  20. Does Science Reduce the World to a Mathematical Entity?Marian Przełęcki - 1983 - der 16. Weltkongress Für Philosophie 2:1074-1081.
    As the answer to the question clearly depends on its precise meaning, the paper aims at presenting some explications of the problem and the conclusions entailed by each of them. If mathematical entity is taken in a narrow sense, the answer turns out to be negative; on some broader conceptions, it is positive. Though irreducible to a numerical structure, a scientific domain is identifiable with some set theoretic entity.
  21. The Theory of Semantic Categories and the Problem of the Typology of Universals.Bogdan Bjankov - 1983 - der 16. Weltkongress Für Philosophie 2:398-405.
    According to the basic idea of the theory of semantic categories the huge variety of expressions could be reduced to three basic classes, called basic semantic categories: names, statements, and functors. On this basis abstract objects or universale can be reduced also to three basic typest abstract objects-terms, abstract objects-statements, and abstract objects-operators. The so-called auxilliary signs, in particular brackets in formalized languages, fulfil a certain, structural function and, on this ground, can be numbered to the type of abstract objects-operators (...)
  22. Ideal Objects on a Meinongian Theory of Universals.R. Routley & V. Routley - 1975 - Proceedings of the XVth World Congress of Philosophy 5:581-584.
  23. Précis Zu Talking About Numbers. Easy Arguments for Mathematical Realism.Katharina Felka - 2016 - Zeitschrift für Philosophische Forschung 70 (3):400-405.
  24. Natural Individuals and Intrinsic Properties.Benedikt Schick, Edmund Runggaldier & Ludger Honnefelder - 2009 - In Benedikt Schick, Edmund Runggaldier & Ludger Honnefelder (eds.), Unity and Time in Metaphysics. Walter de Gruyter.
  25. Tests for Intrinsicness Tested.Kelvin J. McQueen & René van Woudenberg - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (11):2935-2950.
    Various tests have been proposed as helps to identify intrinsic properties. This paper compares three prominent tests and shows that they fail to pass adequate verdicts on a set of three properties. The paper examines whether improved versions of the tests can reduce or remove these negative outcomes. We reach the sceptical conclusion that whereas some of the tests must be discarded as inadequate because they don’t yield definite results, the remaining tests depend for their application on the details of (...)
  26. Review of Paul M. Gould, Ed., Beyond the Control of God?: Six Views on the Problem of God and Abstract Objects[REVIEW]Lorraine Juliano Keller - 2016 - Journal of Analytic Theology 4 (1):434-439.
  27. Indiscernibility Does Not Distinguish Particularity.Daniel Giberman - 2016 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 5 (4):249-256.
    According to the indiscernibility characterization of the distinction between particulars and universals, only and all the former have possible numerically distinct indiscernible intrinsic qualitative duplicates. It is argued here that both the sufficiency and the necessity directions are defective and that indiscernibility thus does not distinguish particularity. Against sufficiency: universals may lack intrinsic qualitative character and thus be trivially indiscernible from one another. Against necessity: pluralities of duplicate-less entities are at once duplicate-less and particular.
  28. Abstract Objects.Gideon Rosen - 2012 - In Edward N. Zalta (ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. The Metaphysics Research Lab, Center for the Study of Language and Information, Stanford University.
    It is widely supposed that every entity falls into one of twocategories: Some are concrete; the rest abstract. The distinction issupposed to be of fundamental significance for metaphysics andepistemology. This article surveys a number of recent attempts to sayhow it should be drawn.
  29. Abstract Entities.John Divers & Roger Teichmann - 1994 - Philosophical Review 103 (1):153.
  30. Abstract Objects.John P. Burgess & Bob Hale - 1992 - Philosophical Review 101 (2):414.
  31. Language and Other Abstract Objects.Sally McConnell-Ginet & Jerrold J. Katz - 1985 - Philosophical Review 94 (4):590.
  32. Abstract Entities.Manley Thompson - 1960 - Philosophical Review 69 (3):331.
  33. An Analysis of Resemblance.P. T. Geach & R. W. Church - 1955 - Philosophical Review 64 (1):130.
  34. The Theory of Universals.P. T. Geach & R. I. Aaron - 1954 - Philosophical Review 63 (2):267.
  35. Some Descriptive Properties of Relations. I.Henry Lanz - 1931 - Philosophical Review 40 (4):341.
  36. Being Something: Properties and Predicative Quantification.Michael Rieppel - 2016 - Mind 125 (499):643-689.
    If I say that Alice is everything Oscar hopes to be, I seem to be quantifying over properties. That suggestion faces an immediate difficulty, however: though Alice may be wise, she surely is not the property of being wise. This problem can be framed in terms of a substitution failure: if a predicate like ‘happy’ denoted a property, we would expect pairs like ‘Oscar is happy’ and ‘Oscar is the property of being happy’ to be equivalent, which they clearly are (...)
  37. Non‐Factualism Versus Nominalism.Matteo Plebani - 2017 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 98 (3).
    The platonism/nominalism debate in the philosophy of mathematics concerns the question whether numbers and other mathematical objects exist. Platonists believe the answer to be in the positive, nominalists in the negative. According to non-factualists, the question is ‘moot’, in the sense that it lacks a correct answer. Elaborating on ideas from Stephen Yablo, this article articulates a non-factualist position in the philosophy of mathematics and shows how the case for non-factualism entails that standard arguments for rival positions fail. In particular, (...)
  38. On Zalta's Notion of Encoding in Conceivability Contexts.Sacha Bourgeois-Gironde - 2004 - Metaphysica.
    Zalta's notion of encoding which lies at the core of his theory of abstract objects is refined so that it can capture cognitive dynamic phenomena such as multiple object-tracking in particular intentional contexts; namely hypothetical stipulation concerning abstract objects and counter-essential conceivability about ordinary ones. Zalta's Modal Axiom of Encoding is weakened and the notion of 'quasi-encoding' is spelt out.
  39. Reply To Armstrong.John Foster - 2004 - The Harvard Review of Philosophy 12 (1):27-28.
  40. Ontological Nominalism and Analytic Philosophy: On the Possibility of Philosophizing Whilst Dispensing with Universals.Hossein Dabbagh & Soroush Dabbagh - 2015 - Philosophy Study 5 (2).
  41. The Nominalist’s Gambit and the Structure of Predication.Francesco F. Calemi - 2014 - Metaphysica 15 (2).
  42. The Metaphysics of Abstract Objects.E. J. Lowe - 1995 - Journal of Philosophy 92 (10):509-524.
  43. Realists and Nominalists.E. A. M. & Meyrick H. Carre - 1947 - Journal of Philosophy 44 (10):278.
  44. The Epistemology of Abstract Objects.D. A. Bell & W. D. Hart - 1979 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 53 (1):135-166.
  45. Universals Again.G. F. Stout - 1936 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 15 (1):1-15.
  46. II—Jody Azzouni: Singular Thoughts.Jody Azzouni - 2011 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 85 (1):45-61.
  47. I—James Ladyman: On the Identity and Diversity of Objects in a Structure.James Ladyman - 2007 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 81 (1):23-43.
  48. II–Joseph Melia.Joseph Melia - 2000 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 74 (1):77-92.
  49. Structural, Electronic, Optical and Elastic Properties of the Complex K2PtCl6-Structure hydridesARuH6: First-Principles Study. [REVIEW]O. Boudrifa, A. Bouhemadou, Ş Uğur, R. Khenata, S. Bin-Omran & Y. Al-Douri - forthcoming - Philosophical Magazine:1-34.
  50. T-ZrS Nanoribbons: Structure and Electronic Properties.Fatih Ersan, Yelda Kadioglu, Gökhan Gökoğlu, Olcay Üzengi Aktürk & Ethem Aktürk - 2016 - Philosophical Magazine 96 (20):2074-2087.
1 — 50 / 6015