Conservative Meinongianism: An Actualist+ Ontology


[Draft substantially revised, September 2021] David Lewis acclimated us to talk of “nonactual concreta that exist,” regarding talking donkeys and the like. I shall argue that this was not for the best, and try to normalize a way of describing them as “actual concreta that do not exist.” The basis of this is a defense of the Meinongian thesis “there are objects of which it is true that there are no such objects,” re: fictitious and illusory objects. I first formulate the problem of negative existentials in a novel way, and discuss why this new version is more forceful against anti-Meinongians. Additional data is also pressed against anti-Meinongians--e.g., the truth of ‘Pegasus is imaginary’, and a reading of ‘There actually are illusory objects’ where it comes out true. The Meinongian, in contrast, easily and uniformly explains the same data, by allowing the existence Pegasus, pink elephants, and the like. But contra Meinong, these cases suggest that the nonexistent objects are mind-dependent objects, and I clarify and defend this suggestion from several objections. The resulting Meinongianism is thus “conservative” in that it merely acknowledges the sense in which there are mind-dependent objects, imaginary and illusory objects being prime examples. Of special note, the “ideology” is conservative as well in that the typical Meinongian jargon of “nuclear” or “encoded” properties is paraphrased away. New suggestions about the ontology of abstracta, mere possibilia, and impossibilia are sketched in light of this. Comparisons are also made with Thomasson, Crane, and McGinn, among others.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 76,199

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

  • Only published works are available at libraries.

Similar books and articles

Non-Existent Objects and Epistemological Ontology.William J. Rapaport - 1985 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 25 (1):61-95.
Meinong, Alexius; I: Meinongian Semantics.William J. Rapaport - 1991 - In Hans Burkhardt & Barry Smith (eds.), Handbook of Metaphysics and Ontology. Philosophia Verlag. pp. 516-519.
Meinongian objects.David W. Smith - 1975 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 1 (1):43-71.
The Independence of Sosein from Sein.Nicholas Griffin - 1979 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 9 (1):23-34.
An "Indifferent Presentation".Tim Rode - 1987 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 29 (1):129-143.
Who is afraid of imaginary objects?Gabriele Contessa - 2009 - In Nicholas Griffin & Dale Jacquette (eds.), Russell Vs. Meinong: The Legacy of "On Denoting". Routledge.
I. the durability of impossible objects.Richard Routley - 1976 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 19 (1-4):247 – 251.
Impossible objects.Karel Lambert - 1974 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 17 (1-4):303 – 314.


Added to PP

235 (#53,152)

6 months
8 (#104,991)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

T. Parent
Nazarbayev University

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

What is it like to be a bat?Thomas Nagel - 1974 - Philosophical Review 83 (October):435-50.
The meaning of 'meaning'.Hillary Putnam - 1975 - Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science 7:131-193.
The Nature of Necessity.Alvin Plantinga - 1974 - Oxford, England: Clarendon Press.
Naming and Necessity.S. Kripke - 1972 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 45 (4):665-666.
Naming and Necessity.Saul A. Kripke - 1980 - Philosophy 56 (217):431-433.

View all 50 references / Add more references