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Bibliography on the Problem of Nonexistent Objects

Bibliography

  1. "Non-Existence and Predication." 1985/86. Grazer Philosophische Studien no. 25/26.

    Edited by Rudolf Haller.

    Table of Contents: Hector-Neri Castaneda: Objects, Existence, and Reference. A Prolegomenon to Guise Theory 3; William J. Rapaport: Non-Existent Objects and Epistemological Ontology 61; Roderick M. Chisholm: On the Positive and Negative States of Things 97; Ruth Barcan Marcus: Possibilia and Possible Worlds 107; Richard Sylvan: Toward an Improved Cosmo-Logical Synthesis 135; John Woods: God, Genidentity and Existential Parity 181; Gary Rosenkrantz: On Objects Totally Out Of This World 197; Czeslaw Lejewski: Logic and Non-Existence 209; Herbert Hochberg: Existence, Non-Existence, and Predication 235; Edgar Morscher: Was Existence Ever a Predicate? 269; Richard E. Grandy: On the Logics of Singular Terms 285; Gerald Vision: Reference and the Ghost of Parmenides 297; Joseph Margolis: Reference as Relational: Pro and Contra 327; Kent Bach: Failed Reference and Feigned Reference: Much Ado About Nothing 359; Nicholas Griffin: Russell’s Critique of Meinong’s Theory of Objects 375: Panayot Butchvarov: Our Robust Sense of Reality 403; Dale Jacquette: Meinong’s Doctrine of the Modal Moment 423; Karel Lambert: Non-Existent Objects: Why Theories About Them Are important 439; Edward N. Zalta: Lambert, Mally and the Principle of Independence 447; Ermanno Bencivenga: Meinong: A Critique From the Left 461; Ernest Sosa: Imagery and Imagination — Sensory Images and Fictional Character 485; Johannes Brandl: Gegenstandslose Gedanken 501; Barry Smith: The Substitution Theory of Art 533; C.J.F. Williams: Kant and Aristotle on the Existence of Space 559; Keith Lehrer: Reid on Conception and Nonbeing 573; Marian David: Non-Existence and Reid’s Conception of Conceiving 585; Roderick M. Chisholm: George Katkov as Philosopher 601-602.

  2. "Existence, Fiction, Assumption. Meinongian Themes and the History of Austrian Philosophy." 2016. Meinong Studies no. 6:99-140.

    Mauro Antonelli, Marian David (eds.).

    Contents / Inhalt:Stefania Centrone: Relational Theories of Intentionality and the Problem of Non-Existents 1; Peter Andres Varga: The Non-Existing Object Revisited: Meinong as the Link between Husserl and Russell? 27; Dale Jacquette: Anti-Meinongian Actualist Meaning of Fiction in Kripke’s 1973 John Locke Lectures 69; Michele Paolini Paoletti: Paradise on the Cheap. Ascriptivism about Ficta 99; Xavier de Donato-Rodriguez; Meinong’s Theory of Assumptions and its Relevance for Scientific Contexts 141; Jutta Valent: Christian von Ehrenfels. Eine intellektuelle Biographie: Neue Forschungsergebnisse aus dem Nachlass 175; Markus Roschitz: Zu Ernst Mallys Lebensgang, Umfeld und akademischer Laufbahn 207-257

  3. Abe, Masao. 1975. "Non-Being and Mu: the Metaphysical Nature of Negativity in the East and the West." Religious Studies no. 11:181-192.

  4. Azzouni, Jody. 2010. Talking about Nothing. Numbers, Hallucinations, and Fictions. New York: Oxford University Press.

  5. ———. 2013. "Hobnobbing with the Nonexistent." Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy no. 56 (4):340-358.

  6. Baldwin, Thomas. 1996. "There Might Be Nothing." Analysis no. 56:231-238.

    "In recent papers Peter van Inwagen (1996) and Jonathan Lowe (1996) have discussed the `fundamental' (1) question of metaphysics `Why is there anything at all?'. In different ways they argue that the nihilist hypothesis that there might be just nothing can be set aside, either because it is impossible for there to be nothing (Lowe 1996: 118) or because this hypothesis is `as improbable as anything can be' (van Inwagen 1996: 99). By contrast I shall here defend the nihilist hypothesis. r

    The point at issue does not simply concern the metaphysics of existence. It also connects with debates concerning modal concepts. David Lewis explicitly declares `there isn't any world where there's nothing at all. That makes it necessary that there is something' (1986: 73). The reason for this, as Lewis explains, is that because he conceives a world as a maximal mereological sum of spatiotemporally interrelated things, there cannot be an empty world, since mereology does not permit `empty sums'. A little surprisingly, David Armstrong, whose combinatorial theory of possibility is in many respects opposed to that of Lewis, also embraces this conclusion, because `the empty world is not a construction from our given elements (actual individuals, properties and relations)' (1989: 93). Armstrong takes this view despite the fact that his theory permits the construction of representations of `contracted worlds' which lack actual individuals, properties and relations because he conceives of worlds as maximal states of affairs and holds that where there is nothing at all, there is no state of affairs. Thus for both Armstrong and Lewis the nihilist hypothesis is to be rejected because the conception of a possibility (or world) has sufficient substance, as a mereological sum or a state of affairs, to demand the existence of something as a part or constituent."

    (1) This is how Heidegger describes the question in Heidegger Introduction to Metaphysics, 1959. It is characteristically unclear what, if any, answer to it Heidegger offers.

  7. Barker, Stephen. 2015. "Expressivism About Reference and Quantification Over the Non-existent Without Meinongian Metaphysics." Erkenntnis no. 80 (S2):215-234.

  8. Barz, Wolfgang. 2014. "Doubts about One’s Own Existence." Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy no. 57 (5-6):645-668.

  9. ———. 2016. "Two‐Dimensional Modal Meinongianism." Ratio no. 29:249-267.

  10. Bernstein, Sara, and Goldschmidt, Tyron, eds. 2021. Non-Being: New Essays on the Metaphysics of Non-Existence. New York: Oxford University Press.

    Contents: List of Contributors IX; Sara Bernstein and Tyron Goldschmidt: Introduction XI; 1. Sara Bernstein: Ontological Pluralism about Non-Being 1; 2. Graham Priest: Nothingness and the Ground of Reality: Heidegger and Nishida 17; 3. Roy Sorensen: Thales’ Riddle of the Night 34; 4. Fatema Amijee: Something from Nothing: Why Some Negative Existentials are Fundamental 50; 5. Filippo Casati and Naoya Fujikawa: Against Gabriel: On the Non-Existence of the World 69; 6. Koji Tanaka: How Can Buddhists Prove That Non-Existent Things Do Not Exist? 82; 7. Bryan Frances: How Ordinary Objects Fit into Reality 97; 8. Eddy Keming Chen: The Cosmic Void 115; 9. Roberto Casati and Achille C. Varzi: Ballot Ontology 139; 10. Aaron Segal: Something Out of Nothing: What Zeno Could Have Taught Parmenides 165; 11. Tyron Goldschmidt and Samuel Lebens: Ex Nihilo Nihil Fit: An Argument for Anti-Nihilism 187; 12. Craig Warmke: Ostrich Actualism 205; 13. John A. Keller and Lorraine Juliano Keller: Saying Nothing and Thinking Nothing 226; 14. Arif Ahmed: Why It Matters What Might Have Been 251; 15. Jacob Ross: Explanatory Relevance and the Doing/Allowing Distinction 268; 16. Carolina Sartorio: Responsibility and the Metaphysics of Omissions 294; 17. Daniel Rubio: Death’s Shadow Lightened 310; Index 329-331.

  11. Bradford, Dennis. 1980. The Concept of Existence: A Study of Nonexistent Particulars. Lanham: University Press of America.

  12. Cartwright, Richard. 1960. "Negative Existentials." Journal of Philosophy no. 57:629-639.

    Reprinted in R. Cartwright, Philosophical Essays, Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1987, pp. 21-31.

  13. Centrone, Stefania. 2016. "Relational Theories of Intentionality and the Problem of Non-Existents." Meinong Studies no. 6:1-26.

  14. Chakrabarti, Arindam. 1997. Denying Existence. The Logic, Epistemology, and Pragmatics of Negative Existentials and Fictional Discourse. Dordrecht: Kluwer.

  15. Chisholm, Roderick M. 1973. "Homeless Objects." Revue Internationale de Philosophie no. 27:207-223.

    Reprinted in R. M. CHisholm, Brentano and Meinong studies, Amsterdam: Rodopi 1982, pp. 37-52.

  16. ———. 1986. "On the positive and negative states of things." Grazer Philosophische Studien no. 25/26:97-106.

    "Following Bolzano, I suggest that there are two types of entity: those that are states of other things and those that are not. The second type includes, not only substances, in the traditional sense, but also such abstract objects as numbers, attributes and propositions. It is argued that the theory of states, when combined with an intentional account of negative attributes, will yield a theory of negative entities and of events."

  17. ———. 1990. "Monads, nonexistent individuals and possible worlds: reply to Rosenkrantz." Philosophical Studies no. 58:173-175.

  18. Chrudzimski, Arkadiusz. 2013. "Varieties of Intentional Objects." Semiotica no. 2013 (194):189–206.

  19. Clapp, Lenny. 2009. "The Problem of Negative Existentials Does Not Exist: A Case for Dynamic Semantics." Journal of Pragmatics no. 41 (7):1422-1434.

  20. Clark, Romane. 1978. "Not Every Object of Thought has Being: A Paradox in Naive Predication Theory." Nous no. 12:181-188.

  21. ———. 1978. "Not Every Object of Thought has Being: A Paradox in Naive Predication Theory." Noûs no. 12:181-188.

  22. Contessa, Gabriele. 2009. "Who is Afraid of Imaginary Objects?" In Russell Vs. Meinong: The Legacy of "On Denoting", edited by Griffin, Nicholas and Jacquette, Dale. Routledge.

  23. ———. 2010. "Scientific Models and Fictional Objects." Synthese no. 172 (2):215-229.

  24. Crane, Tim. 2012. "What is the Problem of Non-Existence?" Philosophia no. 40 (3):417-434.

  25. ———. 2013. The Objects of Thought. New York: Oxford University Press.

  26. Crittenden, Charles. 1970. "Ontology and the Theory of Descriptions." Philosophy and Phenomenological Research no. 31 (1):85-96.

  27. ———. 1993. "Thinking about Non-Being." Inquiry no. 16:290-312.

    "There are genuine references to non-existent objects, as can be seen through elucidating reference in common language and applying the criteria enumerated to expressions used in writing and speaking about fiction. The concept of a fictitious entity is simply accepted in the adoption of the language-game' of fiction and has no undesirable ontological consequences. To think otherwise is to fail to attend to the conceptual status of such talk. Accounts of fictional discourse by Russell, Ryle, and Chisholm are found objectionable. The concept of existence is touched on, and consequences concerning reference to abstract and other objects and also concerning method in ontology mentioned."

  28. Darby, George, Pickup, Martin, and Robson, Jon. 2017. "Deep Indeterminacy in Physics and Fiction." In Thinking About Science, Reflecting on Art: Bringing Aesthetics and Philosophy of Science Together, edited by Bueno, Otávio, French, Steven, Darby, George and Rickles, Dean. Routledge.

  29. De Donato-Rodriguez, Xavier. 2016. "Meinong’s Theory of Assumptions and its Relevance for Scientific Contexts." Meinong Studies no. 6:141-173.

  30. Deely, John. 1975. "Reference to the Non-Existent." The Thomist no. 39:253-308.

  31. Donnellan, Keith. 1974. "Speaking of Nothing." The Philosophical Review no. 83:3-31.

    Reprinted in K. Donnellan, Essays on Reference, Language, and Mind, Edited by Joseph Almog and Paolo Leonardi, New York: Oxford University Press 2012, pp. 81-114.

  32. Donnellann, Keith. 1974. "Speaking of Nothing." The Philosophical Review no. 83:3-31.

    Reprinted in K. Donnellan, Essays on Reference, Language, and Mind, Edited by Joseph Almog and Paolo Leonardi, New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 81-114.

  33. Everett, Anthony, and Hofweber, Thomas, eds. 2000. Empty Names, Fiction and the Puzzles of Non-Existence. Stanford: CSLI Publications.

    The volume contains 13 new papers concerning the semantic and metaphysical issues arising from empty names, non-existence, and the nature of fiction. The contributors include some of the most important researchers working in these fields. Some of the papers develop and defend new positions on these matters, while other papers offer some important new perspectives and criticisms of the existing approaches. The book contains a comprehensive introductory essay by the editors which provides a survey of the philosophical issues concerning empty names, the various responses to these issues, and the literature to date. The book is composed by three parts: I. Empty names; II. Pretense; III. Ontology.

  34. Everett, Anthony J. 2013. The Nonexistent. New York: Oxford University Press.

  35. Everett, Theodore J. 2005. "Are There Non-Existent Entities?" In The Philosophy of Panayot Butchvarov: A Collegial Evaluation, edited by Blackman, Larry Lee, 3-19. Edwin Mellen Press.

  36. Fine, Kit. 1982. "The Problem of Non-Existents. I: Internalism." Topoi no. 1:97-140.

    Contents: A. Iintroduction. 1. Outline 97; 2. Methodology 99; B. Preliminaries, 1. Contexts and Objects 101; 2. Identity and Being 102; 3. The Identity of Non-existents 104; c. An Internalist Theory. 1. The Rudiments 106; 2. The Extended Theory 108; D. Refinements. 1. Implicit /Explicit Copula 110; 2. Diagonal Difficulties 115; 3. Dual Diagonal Difficulties 120; 4. Correlates 123; 5. Modal Matters 129; E. Criticisms. 1. Against Platonism 130; 2. Against Internalism 132; 3. Other Theories 136; Notes 137; References 139.

    "The main philosophical question about non-existents is whether there really are any. My own view is that there are none. But even if this is granted, we may still ask what they are like, just as the materialist may consider the nature of sensations or the nominalist the nature of numbers.

    On this further topic, there seem to be three main divisions of thought, which may be respectively labelled as:

    (i ) platonism /empiricism;

    (ii) literalism /contextualism;

    (iii ) internalism / externalism.

    Let me attempt a rough characterization of these divisions. More refined formulations will come later. On a platonic conception, the non-existent objects of fiction, perception, belief and the like do not depend for their being upon human activity or upon any empirical conditions at all; they exist, or have being, necessarily.

    Under an empirical conception, on the other hand, these objects are firmly rooted in empirical reality; they exist, or have being, contingently. On an extreme conception of this sort, these objects are literally created and are brought into being by the appropriate activity either of or within the agent.

    (...)

    All in all, the three divisions provide for 8 ( = 23) combinations of positions. Each, I think, is coherent, but some are more natural than others. For example it is natural, though not necessary, for the ‘platonist’ to accept internalism and for the ‘empiricist’ to accept externalism; for the means by which the objects are individuated will naturally be taken to provide conditions for their existence or being.

    My own view on these questions is given by empiricism, contextualism and extemalism, not that this is a common combination in the literature. This view will be defended in the second part of this paper. In the present part, I am concerned to discuss a view that combines internalism with contextualism and platonism; and in the third part, I shall discuss the literalist position, mainly in association with platonism and internalism. I have not attempted systematically to consider all of the possible combinations of position. I have only looked at the more prominent or plausible of the views, though what I say on them should throw light on what is to be said of the others.

    The plan of the present part is as follows. In section A2, I discuss general methodological issues facing any philosophical study of nonexistents and, in particular, defend the claim that one can say what they are like without presupposing that there really are any. In section B, I try first to delineate more precisely the subjectmatter of our theories and then to describe the problems of providing identity and existence conditions with which any such theory should deal. In section C, I give an initial formulation of an internalist theory, which is successively refined in section D. Finally, in section E, I give two major criticisms of the theory as thus developed. A more detailed account of each section is given in the list of contents.

    It is of the greatest importance to note that the present part does not contain my own views on the subject. It is only in the last section of this part that the internalist position is criticized, and it is only in the second part of this paper that my own, more positive, views are developed." (pp. 97-99)

  37. ———. 1984. "Critical Review of Parsons' 'Nonexistent Objects'." Philosophical Studies no. 45:95-142.

    Review of: Terence Parsons, Nonexistent Objects, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1980.

    "There has recently been a rebellion within the ranks of analytic philosophy. It has come to be appreciated that, in the debate between Russell and Meinong, Russell was perhaps mistaken in his criticisms and Meinong was perhaps correct in his views. As a consequence, an attempt was made to rehabilitate the Meinongian position, to defend it against the most obvious attacks and to develop it in the most plausible ways. T. Parsons was among the first of the contemporary philosophers to make this attempt, (1) and so it is especially appropriate that his views should now be set out in a book.

    I should say, at the outset, that I thoroughly approve of the Meinongian project. As Parsons makes clear (pp. 32— 38), we refer to non-existents in much the same way as we refer to other objects. It is therefore incumbent upon the philosopher to work out the principles by which our discourse concerning such objects is governed. Not that this is necessarily to endorse a realist position towards the objects of the resulting theory. Nominalists and Platonists alike may attempt to set out the principles that govern arithmetical discourse; and it is in the same spirit that the realist or anti-realist may attempt to set out the principles of our fictional discourse.

    Despite my approval of the project, I must admit to some misgivings as to how Parsons has carried it out. These misgivings are of two kinds. There are first some internal criticisms, requiring only change within Parsons’ basic approach. There are then some external criticisms, requiring change to the basic approach.

    These criticisms, though, should not be thought to detract from the merits of Parsons’ book. It is, in many ways, an admirable contribution to the field.

    It gives weight both to the interest and the legitimacy of the Meinongian enterprise; it pinpoints the difficulties which any satisfactory theory must deal with; and in its solution to those difficulties, it sets up a theory with a degree of rigour and systematicity that should serve as a model for years to come. As a well worked-out and accessible contribution to object theory, there is no better book." (pp. 95-96)

    (1) Others include Castafieda [1], Rapaport [7], Routley [8] and Zalta [9].

    References

    [1] Castaneda, H. N.: 1974, Thinking and the structure of the world’, Philosophia 4, pp.3-40.

    [7] Rapaport, W.: 1978, ‘Meinongian theories and a Russellian paradox’, Nous 12, pp.153-180.

    [8] Routley, R.: 1980, Exploring Meinong’s Jungle and Beyond (Australian National University, Canberra).

    [9] Zalta, E. N.: 1980, ‘An introduction to a theory of abstract objects’, Ph.D. Thesis (University of Massachusetts, Amherst)

  38. Fitch, Gregory. 1993. "Non Denoting." Philosophical Perspectives no. 7:461-484.

  39. Friedell, David. 2013. "Salmon on Hob and Nob." Philosophical Studies no. 165 (1):213-220.

  40. Giraud, Thibaut. 2016. "On Modal Meinongianism." Synthese no. 193:3329-3346.

  41. Goodman, Jeffrey. 2010. "Fictionalia as Modal Artifacts." Grazer Philosophische Studien no. 80 (1):21-46.

  42. ———. 2014. "Creatures of Fiction, Objects of Myth." Analysis no. 74:35-40.

    Abstract: "Many who think that some abstracta are artefacts are fictional creationists, asserting that fictional characters are brought about by our activities. Kripke (1973), Salmon (1998, 2002), and Braun (2005) further embrace mythical creationism, claiming that certain entities that figure in false theories, such as phlogiston or Vulcan, are likewise abstracta produced by our intentional activities. I here argue that one may not reasonably take the metaphysical route travelled by the mythical creationist. Even if one holds that fictional characters are artefact one ought not further hold that mythical objects are, too."

  43. ———. 2017. "On Inadvertently Created Abstracta, Fictional Storytelling, and Scientific Hypothesizing." Res Philosophica no. 94 (1):177-188.

    Abstract: In my “Creatures of Fiction, Objects of Myth” (2014), I present and defend an argument for thinking that mythical creationism—the view that mythical objects like phlogiston and Vulcan are abstract artifacts—is false. One intriguing sort of objection to my argument has been recently put forth by Zvolenszky (2016); she claims that a crucial premise is seen to be unjustified once one considers the phenomena of inadvertently created abstracta—specifically, inadvertently created fictional characters. I argue here that even if we admit inadvertently created abstracta into our ontology, my argument survives. I ultimately defend a view on which fictional characters (if real) may be countenanced as created abstracta whether purposefully created or not, yet mythical objects are best taken to be discoverable, Platonic abstracta (if real). We can see that such a hybrid ontology is justified once we take proper note of the nature of the sorts of authorial activities involved in fictional storytelling and scientific hypothesizing."

  44. Griffin, Nicholas. 2003. "Foreword to the Importance of Nonexistent Objects and of Intensionality in Mathematics." Philosophia Mathematica no. 11:16-19.

  45. Grossmann, Reinhardt. 1984. "Nonexistent Objects versus Definite Descriptions." Australasian Journal of Philosophy no. 62:363-377.

    "Some years ago, I published an article about Meinong's theory of objects. (1) I listed there four main theses of Meinong's view:

    (1) The golden mountain (and other nonexistents) has no being at all.

    (2) Nevertheless, it is a constituent of the fact that the golden mountain does not exist.

    (3) Furthermore, it has such ordinary properties as being made from gold.

    (4) Existence is not a constituent of any object.

    And I argued in that paper that only thesis (1) is true. In particular, I insisted that (3), which I consider to be the most characteristic feature of Meinong's view, is false.

    Since then, there have been quite a few discussions of Meinong's view. I would like, in response to some of these works, to reiterate my earlier criticism of Meinong. My purpose is threefold. Firstly, I would like to state once more my own view, which is a version of Russell's theory of definite descriptions, as clearly as possible. Secondly, I shall defend my past contention that the golden mountain is not golden against some recent objections. And thirdly and most importantly, I want to describe the dialectic of the philosophical problem as I perceive it. It seems to me to be an exasperating shortcoming of the discussion that most participants do not clearly state the basic options and their reasons for preferring some to others."

    (1) Meinong's Doctrine of the Aussersein of the Pure Object', Noüs, 8 (1974, pp. 67-81. See also my Meinong (Routledge and Kegan Paul, London, 1974).

  46. Haller, Rudolf. 1983. "Friedlands sterne oder Facta und Ficta." Erkenntnis no. 19 (1-3):153 - 165.

  47. Heawood, John. 1993. "Impossible Objects." Cogito no. 7 (3):179-187.

  48. Hintikka, Jaakko. 1984. "Are There Nonexistent Objects? Why Not? But Where are They?" Synthese no. 60:451-458.

    Reprinted in J. Hintikka, The Logic of Epistemology and the Epistemology of Logic. Selected Essays, Dordrecht: Kluwer, 1989, pp. 37-44.

  49. Hofweber, Thomas. 2000. "Quantification and Non-Existent Objects." In Empty Names, Fiction, and the Puzzles of Non-Existence, edited by Hofweber, T. and Everett, A.: CSLI Publications.

  50. Hunter, Daniel. 1981. "Reference and Meinongian Objects." Grazer Philosophische Studien no. 14:23-36.

    Abstract: "Terence Parsons has recently given a consistent formalization of Meinong's Theory of Objects. The interest in this theory lies in its postulation of nonexistent objects. An important implication of the theory is that we commonly refer to nonexistent objects. In particular, the theory is committed to taking fictional entities as objects of reference. Yet it is difficult to see how reference to fictional entities can be established if Parsons' theory is correct. This difficulty diminishes the attractiveness of the theory and also raises questions as to the ability of the theory to give a satisfactory account of intentional attitudes towards fictional entities."

  51. Inwagen, Peter van. 1996. "Why is There Anything at All?" Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society no. 70:95-110.

  52. Jacquette, Dale. 1996. Meinongian logic: the semantics of existence and nonexistence. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.

  53. Jacqutte, Dale. 2016. "Anti-Meinongian Actualist Meaning of Fiction in Kripke’s 1973 John Locke Lectures." Meinong Studies no. 6:59-98.

  54. Jadacki, Jacek Juliusz. 2003. "On What Seems Not To Be." In From the Viewpoint of the Lvov-Warsaw School, 19-27. Amsterdam: Rodopi.

  55. Kasabova, Anita. 2011. "On Imaginary Entities or Chimeras and their Relation to Reality." Lexia. Rivista di semiotica no. 07/08:183-212.

  56. Kelly, Charles J. 1987. "On Things That Do Not Now Exist and Never Have Existed." Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association (61):181-190.

  57. Knight, Gordon. 2001. "Idealism, Intentionality, and Nonexistent Objects." Journal of Philosophical Research no. 26:43-52.

  58. Kroon, Frederick. 1996. "Characterizing Non-Existents." Grazer Philosophische Studien no. 51:163-193.

  59. Lambert, Karel. 1985/86. "Nonexistent Objects: Why Theories About Them Are Important." Grazer Philosophische Studien no. 25/26:439-446.

    "What follows is not an historical exercise. The basic concern is neither with Meinong’s nor his disciples’ and advocates’ reasons for thinking the theory of nonexistent objects (= nonsubsistent objects in Meinong’s sense of the word ‘nonsubsistent’) important. Instead I shall try to set aside preexisting reasons — there are lots of these — on behalf of the importance of the theory of nonexistent objects, and adduce a couple of unbiased reasons — what Hugues Leblanc sceptically calls “excuses” — aimed at vindicating the development of theories of such objects. It will not follow from this discussion that one must believe in nonexistent objects anymore than one must believe in ideal objects important as the latter are (in the minds of many) to the interpretation of the theory of classical mechanics.

    The reasons on behalf of the importance of the theory of nonexistent objects to be advanced are not mutually exclusive, the first having to do with utility or applications of the theory of nonexistent objects, and the second with the smoothness of essentially classical logical theory with identity." (p. 439)

  60. ———. 1985/86. "Non-Existent Objects." Grazer Philosophische Studien no. 25:439-446.

  61. Landini, Gregory. 1990. "How to Russell Another Meinongian: a Russellian Theory of Fictional Objects versus Zalta's Theory of Abstract Objects." Grazer Philosophische Studien no. 37:93-122.

  62. Lejewski, Czeslaw. 1985/86. "Logic and Non-Existence." Grazer Philosophische Studien no. 25/26:209-234.

  63. Lewis, David. 1990. "Noneism or Allism?" Mind no. 99:23-31.

    Reprinted in D. Lewis, Papers in Metaphysics and Epistemology, Vol. 1, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1999, pp. 152-163.

  64. Lightfield, Ceth. 2014. "Ficta as Contingently Nonconcrete." Organon F: Medzinárodný Časopis Pre Analytickú Filozofiu no. 21 (4):431-457.

  65. Lihoreau, Franck, ed. 2011. Truth in Fiction: Ontos Verlag.

  66. Livingston, Paisley Nathan, and Sauchelli, Andrea. 2011. "Philosophical Perspectives on Fictional Characters." New Literary History no. 42 (2):337-360.

  67. Lowe, John E. 1996. "Why is There Anything at All?" Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society no. 70:111-120.

  68. Makin, Gideon. 2009. "On Denoting: Appearance and Reality." In Russell Vs. Meinong: The Legacy of 'On Denotng', edited by Griffin, Nicholas and Jacquette, Dale. New York: Routledge.

  69. Marcus, Ruth Barcan. 1975. "Dispensing with Possibilia." Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association no. 49 (n/a):39 - 51.

  70. ———. 1997. "Are Possible, Non Actual Objects Real?" Revue Internationale de Philosophie no. 51 (200):251-257.

  71. McCarthy, Andrew, and Phillips, Ian. 2006. "No New Argument Against the Existence Requirement." Analysis no. 66 (1):39–44.

  72. McMichael, Alan, and Zalta, Edward N. 1980. "An Alternative Theory of Nonexistent Objects." Journal of Philosophical Logic no. 9:297-313.

  73. Minerd, Matthew K. 2017. "Beyond Non-Being: Thomistic Metaphysics on Second Intentions, Ens morale, and Ens artificiale." American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly no. 91:353-379.

    Abstract: "In Thomistic metaphysics, the domain of ens rationis pertains to a hazy region of “non-real” being, laying outside of the proper scientific subject of metaphysics. In addition to negations and privations, a very important domain of entia rationis pertains to that of relationes rationis, especially such relationes as play a role in human reasoning. Logic, studying these “non-real” relations, thus focuses on a unique, if hazy, realm of “non-being.” While this particular type of ens rationis receives the lion’s share of attention among Thomists, there is evidence that similar reflection should be given to two additional domains of experience, namely that of “moral being” and “artificial being” (i.e., the being of artifacts). This paper lays out the general metaphysical concerns pertaining to each of these domains, providing an outline of topics pertinent to a Thomistic discussion of the intentional existence involved in logic, moral realities, and artifacts."

  74. Moltmann, Friederike. 2013. Abstract Objects and the Semantics of Natural Language: Oxford University Press.

    Chapter 5: Intensional Transitive Verbs and their 'Objects'.

  75. Mondadori, Fabrizio. 1985. "Review of Nonexistent Objects by Terence Parsons." The Philosophical Review no. 94:427.

  76. Muñoz, Daniel. 2020. "Grounding Nonexistence." Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy:1-21.

  77. Nöth, Winfried. 2006. "Representations of Imaginary, Nonexistent, or Nonfigurative Objects." Cognitio no. 7 (2):277-291.

  78. Paoletti, Michele Paolini. 2016. "Paradise on the Cheap. Ascriptivism about Ficta." Meinong Studies no. 6:99-140.

  79. Paolini Paoletti, Michele. 2016. "Who’s Afraid of Non-Existent Manifestations?" In Metaphysics and Scientific Realism: Essays in Honour of David Malet Armstrong, edited by Calemi, Francesco F., 193-206. De Gruyter.

  80. Parsons, Terence. 1979. "Referring to Nonexistent Objects." Theory and Decision no. 11:95--110.

  81. ———. 1979. "The Methodology of Nonexistence." Journal of Philosophy no. 76:649-662.

  82. ———. 1980. Nonexistent Objects. New Haven: Yale University Press.

  83. ———. 1982. "Are There Nonexistent Objects?" American Philosophical Quarterly no. 19 (4):365 - 371.

  84. ———. 2001. "Referring to Nonexistent Objects." Theory and Decision no. 11:95-110.

  85. Priest, Graham. 2011. "Creating Non-Existents." In Truth in Fiction, edited by Lihoreau, Franck, 107-118. Frankfurt: Ontos Verlag.

    Abstract: "Towards Non-Being gives a noneist account of the reference of words which do not refer to existent objects—in the context, in particular, of intentional states. The account is a realist one, in the sense that the domain of objects is the same at each world, and so does not depend on the behaviour of objects which exist there. In this paper, I discuss an anti-realist version of the theory. What non-existent objects are available at a world supervenes on the behaviour of the existent—and, particularly, sentient—beings at that world. An appropriate formal semantics is given; and its philosophical ramifications—notably, with respect to the naming of non-existent objects— are explored."

  86. ———. 2016. Towards Non-Being: The Logic and Metaphysics of Intentionality. New York: Oxford University Press.

    Second edition. (First edition 2005)

  87. ———. 2019. "Objects That Are Not Objects." In Quo Vadis,Metaphysics? Essays in Honor of Peter van Inwagen, edited by Szatkowski, Miroslaw, 217-229. Berlin: de Gruyter.

  88. Prior, Arthur Norman. 1971. Objects of Thought. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

    Edited by Peter Thomas Geach and Anthony J. P. Kenny.

  89. Przelecki, Marian. 1981. "On What there Is Not." Dialectics and Humanism no. 8:123-129.

    "It is my contention (which I shall try to defend in what follows) that the text of the dialogue contains thoughts and ideas that closely correspond to those characteristic of modern logical semantics. The difficulties which Plato is coping with and the solutions proposed by him find their explicit counterparts in the discussions of contemporary logicians and semanticists.

    This statement, however, needs some qualification. The text of the dialogue is comprehensive and indefinite enough to allow for different readings and interpretations. It is only some interpretation of some of its fragments that may be said to yield that version of its problems which is suggested below. I would, however, contend that the interpretation advanced is a warranted one and the fragments so interpreted essential for the author's standpoint. One more point should be explicitly stated beforehand. Referring to what I call modern logical semantics, I mean by this a definite semantic theory: model theoretic semantics in its standard version, which might be regarded as a "classical" form of contemporary logical semantics. Some deviations from this use will be indicated in what follows.

    The most important philosophical content of the dialogue is contained in its second part (esp. in the paragraphs 237-264). The main problem concerns the semantic characteristic of falsehood and, involved in it, notion of not-being." (p. 123)

  90. Rapaport, William J. 1985/86. "Non-Existent Objects and Epistemological Ontology." Grazer Philosophische Studien no. 25/26:61-95.

    "This essay examines the role of non-existent objects in "epistemological ontology" - the study of the entities that make thinking possible. An earlier revision of Meinong's Theory of Objects is reviewed, Meinong's notions of Quasisein and Aussersein are discussed, and a theory of Meinongian objects as "combinatorially possible" entities is presented."

  91. Rast, Erich. 2010. "Classical Possibilism and Fictional Objects." In Fiction in Philosophy, edited by Lihoreau, Franck.

    Abstract: "An account of non-existing objects called 'classical possibilism', according to which objects that don't actually exist do exist in various other ways, is implemented in a two-dimensional modal logic with non-traditional predication theory. This account is very similar to Priest's, but preserves bivalence and does not endorse dialethism. The power of classical possibilism is illustrated by giving some examples that makes use of a description theory of reference. However, the same effect could also be achieved in a more Millian fashion. It is argued that classical possibilism is ontologically more neutral than is commonly thought, because it allows for the formulation of various forms of reductionism within the object language."

  92. Rescher, Nicholas. 1982. "The Concept of Nonexistent Possibles." In Essays in Philosophical Analysis, 73-110. Boston: University Press of America.

  93. ———. 2003. Imagining Irreality: A Study of Unreal Possibilities. La Salle: Open Court.

  94. ———. 2003. "Nonexistents Then and Now." The Review of Metaphysics no. 57:359-381.

  95. Restall, Greg. 1997. "Ways Things Can't Be." Notre Dame Journal of Formal Logic no. 38 (4):583-596.

  96. Rosenkrantz, Gary. 1990. "Reference, Intentionality and Nonexistent Entities." Philosophical Studies no. 58:183-195.

  97. Routley, Richard. 1979. "The Theory of Objects as Commonsense." Grazer Philosophische Studien no. 9:1-22.

  98. Salmon, Nathan. 1998. "Nonexistence." Noûs no. 32:277-319.

    Reprinted in N. Salmon, Metaphysics, Mathematics, and Meaning: Philosophical Papers I, Oxford: Clarendon Press 2005, pp. 50-90.

  99. ———. 2002. "Mythical Objects." In Meaning and Truth: Investigations in Philosophical Semantics, edited by Campbell, Joseph Keim, O'Rourke, Michael and Shier, David, 105-123. New York: Seven Bridges Press.

  100. Sauchelli, Andrea. 2012. "Fictional Objects, Non-Existence, and the Principle of Characterization." Philosophical Studies no. 159:139-146.

  101. Skow, Bradford. 2010. "The Dynamics of Non-Being." Philosophers' Imprint no. 10:1-14.

  102. Smith, Barry. 1995. "More Things in Heaven and Earth." Grazer Philosophische Studien no. 50:187-201.

  103. Smith, David Woodruff. 1975. "Meinongian Objects." Grazer Philosophische Studien no. 1:43-71.

  104. Stone, Jim. 2010. "Harry Potter and the Spectre of Imprecision." Analysis no. 70:638-644.

  105. Swanson, Carolyn. 2012. "A Meinongian Minefield? The Dangerous Implications of Nonexistent Objects." Human Affairs no. 22:161-177.

    Abstract: "Alexius Meinong advocated a bold new theory of nonexistent objects, where we could gain knowledge and assert true claims of things that did not exist. While the theory has merit in interpreting sentences and solving puzzles, it unfortunately paves the way for contradictions. As Bertrand Russell argued, impossible objects, such as the round square, would have conflicting properties. Meinong and his proponents had a solution to that charge, posing genuine and non-genuine versions of the Law of Non-Contradiction. No doubt, they had a clever response, but it may not adequately address Russell’s concern. Moreover, as I argue, genuine contradictions are inherent to the set of all nonexistent objects. And such contradictions lead to even further absurdities, for example, that nonexistent objects have and lack every property. Unfortunately, such implications of the theory make it too treacherous to adopt."

  106. Sylvan, Richard. 2003. "The Importance of Nonexistent Objects and of Intensionality in Nathematics." Philosophia Mathematica no. 11 (1):20-52.

  107. Varga, Peter Andras. 2016. "The Non-Existing Object Revisited: Meinong as the Link between Husserl and Russell?" Meinong Studies no. 6:27-57.

  108. Voltolini, Alberto. 1994. "Ficta versus Possibilia." Grazer Philosophische Studien no. 48 (1):75-104.

  109. ———. 2013. "Probably the Charterhouse of Parma Does Not Exist, Possibly Not Even That Parma." Humana Mente no. 6:235-261.

  110. von Solodkoff, Tatjana. 2014. "Fictional Realism and Negative Existentials." In Empty Representations: Reference and Non-Existence, edited by García-Carpintero, Manuel and Martí, Genoveva, 333-352. Oxford University Press.

  111. von Solodkoff, Tatjana, and Woodward, Richard. 2013. "Noneism, Ontology, and Fundamentality." Philosophy and Phenomenological Research no. 87:558-583.

  112. Walters, Lee. 2015. "The Problem of Nonexistence: Truthmaking or Semantics? Critical Notice of The Objects of Thought, by Tim Crane." Disputatio no. 7:231-245.

  113. Wetzel, Thomas Louis. 1978. Non-Existent Objects: A Study in Ontology, University of California, Los Angeles.

    Available at UMI Dissertation Express. Order number: 7813959.

  114. Wolenski, Jan. 1995. "Ways of Dealing with Non-Existence." Grazer Philosophische Studien no. 50:113-127.

    "Non-existence provides big problems for ontology and modest for logic. Logical problems of non-existence consist in licensing inferences in which sentences with empty terms arc involved. The standard predicate logic solves this question by presupposing that every individual constant has an object to which it refers. This means that empty domains are excluded from semantics for the first-order logic. However, there is a temptation to consider logic without existential presuppositions.

    The ontological problem of non-existence leads to the question of the meaning of ‘nothing’. We encounter “various conceptions of nothing” in the history of philosophy from Parmenides to our times. However, nothing (or nothingness) is always a negation of being.

    Since we have distributive and collective (mereological) concepts of being, we also should distinguish nothing in the distributive and mereological meaning. This difference is important because only the former leads to the paradox of nothing of all nothings, analogical to the paradox of all sets. A closer analysis of the nothing in the distributive sense shows that any meaningful talk about non-existence requires a relativisation to a fixed domain of discourse. This seems to entail that the empty set is the formal model of nothing what means that the concept of absolute nothing in the distributive sense is simply inconsistent. To some extent, being and nothing are mutually dual. This motivates that the concept of nothing is governed by so-called dual logic connected with processes of rejection. More specifically, statements on “nothing” are not asserted but rejected."

  115. Woodbridge, James A., and Armour-Garb, Bradley. 2009. "Linguistic Puzzles and Semantic Pretence." In New Waves in Philosophy of Language, edited by Sawyer, Sarah, 250-284. New York: Palgrave-Macmillan.

  116. Yagisawa, Takashi. 2019. "Imagining Fictional Characters." In Quo Vadis,Metaphysics? Essays in Honor of Peter van Inwagen, edited by Szatkowski, Miroslaw, 203-216. Berlin: de Gruyter.

  117. Yakira, Elhanan. 1994. "Ideas of Nonexistent Modes." In Spinoza by 2000. The Jerusalem Conference. Vol. 2: Spinoza on Knowledge and the Human Mind, edited by Yovel, Yirmiyahu. Leiden: Brill.

  118. Zalta, Edward N., and McMichael, Alan. 1980. "An Alternative Theory of Nonexistent Objects." Journal of Philosophical Logic no. 9:297-314.

    "The authors develop precise statements of the conditions under which there are nonexistent objects and of the conditions under which any two such objects are identical. Essentially, for any describable condition on properties, there is a nonexistent object which includes (but doesn't necessarily exemplify) just the properties satisfying the condition. The logic of inclusion is developed in detail. It is shown how these nonexistent objects can serve as the denotations of the names of fictional characters."

  119. Zvolenszky, Zsofia. 2016. "Fictional Characters, Mythical Objects, and the Phenomenon of Inadvertent Creation." Res Philosophica no. 93:311-333.

    Abstract: "My goal is to reflect on the phenomenon of inadvertent creation and argue that—various objections to the contrary—it doesn’t undermine the view that fictional characters are abstract artifacts. My starting point is a recent challenge by Jeffrey Goodman that is originally posed for those who hold that fictional characters and mythical objects alike are abstract artifacts. The challenge: if we think that astronomers like Le Verrier, in mistakenly hypothesizing the planet Vulcan, inadvertently created an abstract artifact, then the “inadvertent creation” element turns out to be inescapable yet theoretically unattractive. Based on considerations about actually existing concrete objects featured in fictional works (as Napoleon is in Tolstoy’s War and Peace), I argue that independently of one’s stand on mythical objects, admitting fictional characters as abstract artifacts is enough to give rise to the challenge at hand; yet this very point serves to undermine the challenge, indicating that inadvertent creation is not nearly as worrisome as Goodman suggests. Indeed, the inadvertent creation phenomenon’s generality extends far beyond objects of fiction and myth, and I will use this observation to counter a further objection. Taking fictional characters (and mythical objects) to be abstract artifacts therefore remains a viable option."

Related pages

On the website "Theory and History of Ontology" (www.ontology.co)

Existence (Definitions from some leading philosophers)

Selected bibliography on Existence in Philosophy

Selected bibliography on the history of the concept of Existence

The Problem of Nonexistent Objects

Bibliography on the History of the Problem of Nonexistent Objects