The Selection Problem

Revue Internationale de Philosophie 262 (4):519-537 (2012)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

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 ? In this paper, I set out a line of response by distinguishing different ways in which a thing may not exist. I show that the selection problem (a) does not arise for past, currently nonexistent objects ; (b) may not arise also for future existents (provided one massages naïve intuitions a bit) ; and (c) even for mere possibilia ; but (d) is a real snag for purely fictional objects, such as Holmes or Gandalf. As for (d), I propose a solution that forces Meinongianism to introduce a kind of ontological dependence of purely fictional nonexistents upon existents. The strategy complicates the intuitively simple, naïve Meinongian framework a bit, but looks quite promising.

Similar books and articles

Reid on fictional objects and the way of ideas.Ryan Nichols - 2002 - Philosophical Quarterly 52 (209):582-601.
A Meinongian Analysis of Fictional Objects.Terence Parsons - 1975 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 1 (1):73-86.
Against advanced modalizing.Josh Parsons - 2012 - In James Maclaurin (ed.), Rationis Defensor: Essays in Honour of Colin Cheyne. Springer. pp. 139-153.
Reference and Meinongian Objects.Daniel Hunter - 1981 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 14 (1):23-36.
Is Lewis a meinongian?Bernard Linsky & Edward N. Zalta - 1991 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 69 (4):438–453.
Dwa typy abstrakcjonizmu w ontologii fikcji.Maciej Sendłak - forthcoming - Przegląd Filozoficzno-Literacki.

Analytics

Added to PP
2013-05-16

Downloads
495 (#32,481)

6 months
51 (#73,697)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Franz Berto
University of St. Andrews

Citations of this work

Ingarden vs. Meinong on Ficta’s Generation and Properties.Hicham Jakha - forthcoming - Estetika: The European Journal of Aesthetics:1-21.

Add more citations

References found in this work

On Denoting.Bertrand Russell - 1905 - Mind 14 (56):479-493.
On Denoting.Bertrand Russell - 2005 - Mind 114 (456):873 - 887.
Nonexistent Objects.Terence Parsons - 1980 - Yale University Press.
Semantical Considerations on Modal Logic.Saul Kripke - 1963 - Acta Philosophica Fennica 16:83-94.
Truth in fiction.David K. Lewis - 1978 - American Philosophical Quarterly 15 (1):37–46.

View all 26 references / Add more references