Reid on fictional objects and the way of ideas

Philosophical Quarterly 52 (209):582-601 (2002)
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I argue that Reid adopts a form of Meinongianism about fictional objects because of, not in spite of, his common sense philosophy. According to 'the way of ideas', thoughts take representational states as their immediate intentional objects. In contrast, Reid endorses a direct theory of conception and a heady thesis of first-person privileged access to the contents of our thoughts. He claims that thoughts about centaurs are thoughts of non-existent objects, not thoughts about mental intermediaries, adverbial states or general concepts. In part this is because of the common sense semantics he adopts for fictional-object terms. I show that it is reasonable for Reid to endorse Meinongianism, given his epistemological priorities, for he took the way of ideas to imply that his view about first-person privileged access to our mental contents was false



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Citations of this work

Thomas Reid.Gideon Yaffe & Ryan Nichols - 2009 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Thomas Reid on Induction and Natural Kinds.Stephen Harrop - 2022 - Journal of Scottish Philosophy 20 (1):1-18.
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References found in this work

Negative existentials.Richard L. Cartwright - 1960 - Journal of Philosophy 57 (20/21):629-639.
Particulars, Individual Qualities, and Universals.Keith Lehrer & Vann McGee - 1992 - In Kevin Mulligan (ed.), Language, Truth and Ontology. Kluwer Academic Publishers. pp. 37--47.
Reid’s Answer to Abstract Ideas.Susan V. Castagnetto - 1992 - Journal of Philosophical Research 17:39-60.

View all 11 references / Add more references