Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2019)

Authors
Maria Elisabeth Reicher
Aachen University of Technology
Abstract
Are there nonexistent objects, i.e., objects that do not exist? Some examples often cited are: Zeus, Pegasus, Sherlock Holmes, Vulcan (the hypothetical planet postulated by the 19th century astronomer Le Verrier), the perpetual motion machine, the golden mountain, the fountain of youth, the round square, etc. Some important philosophers have thought that the very concept of a nonexistent object is contradictory (Hume) or logically ill-formed (Kant, Frege), while others (Leibniz, Meinong, the Russell of Principles of Mathematics) have embraced it wholeheartedly. This entry is an examination of the many questions which arise in connection with the view that there are nonexistent objects. The following are particularly salient: What reasons are there (if any) for thinking that there are nonexistent objects? If there are nonexistent objects, then what kind of objects are they? How can they be characterized? Is it possible to provide a consistent theory of nonexistent objects? What is the explanatory force of a consistent theory of nonexistent objects (if such a thing is possible)?
Keywords Alexius Meinong  problem of intentionality  negative existence statements  fictional objects
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References found in this work BETA

Modal Logic as Metaphysics.Timothy Williamson - 2013 - Oxford University Press.
Essays on the Intellectual Powers of Man.Thomas Reid - 2002 - Cambridge University Press.
Critique of Pure Reason.Immanuel Kant - 1991 - In Elizabeth Schmidt Radcliffe, Richard McCarty, Fritz Allhoff & Anand Vaidya (eds.), Philosophy and Phenomenological Research. Blackwell. pp. 449-451.

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Citations of this work BETA

Existence as a Real Property.Francesco Berto - 2012 - Synthèse Library, Springer.
Ostrich Presentism.Giuliano Torrengo - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 170 (2):255-276.
A Puzzle for Modal Realism.Daniel Graham Marshall - 2016 - Philosophers' Imprint 16.
Alexius Meinong.Johann Marek - 2009 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

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