Intentionality: Meinongianism and the medievals

Australasian Journal of Philosophy 82 (3):421 – 442 (2004)
Intentional verbs create three different problems: problems of non-existence, of indeterminacy, and of failure of substitutivity. Meinongians tackle the first problem by recognizing non-existent objects; so too did many medieval logicians. Meinongians and the medievals approach the problem of indeterminacy differently, the former diagnosing an ellipsis for a propositional complement, the latter applying their theory directly to non-propositional complements. The evidence seems to favour the Meinongian approach. Faced with the third problem, Ockham argued bluntly for substitutivity when the intentional complement is non-propositional; Buridan developed a novel way of resisting substitutivity. Ockham's approach is closer to the Meinongian analysis of these cases; Buridan's seems to raise difficulties for a referential semantics. The comparision between the Meinongian and medieval approaches helps to bring out merits and potential pitfalls of each.
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DOI 10.1080/713659877
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