Existence as a Real Property: The Ontology of Meinongianism

Overview

This profound exploration of one of the core notions of philosophy—the concept of existence itself—reviews, then counters (via Meinongian theory), the mainstream philosophical view running from Hume to Frege, Russell, and Quine, summarized thus by Kant: “Existence is not a predicate.” The initial section of the book presents a comprehensive introduction to, and critical evaluation of, this mainstream view. The author moves on to provide the first systematic survey of all the main Meinongian theories of existence,...

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Overview

This profound exploration of one of the core notions of philosophy—the concept of existence itself—reviews, then counters (via Meinongian theory), the mainstream philosophical view running from Hume to Frege, Russell, and Quine, summarized thus by Kant: “Existence is not a predicate.” The initial section of the book presents a comprehensive introduction to, and critical evaluation of, this mainstream view. The author moves on to provide the first systematic survey of all the main Meinongian theories of existence, which, by contrast, reckon existence to be a real, full-fledged property of objects that some things possess, and others lack. As an influential addition to the research literature, the third part develops the most up-to-date neo-Meinongian theory called Modal Meinongianism, applies it to specific fields such as the ontology of fictional objects, and discusses its open problems, laying the groundwork for further research.

In accordance with the latest trends in analytic ontology, the author prioritizes a meta-ontological viewpoint, adopting a dual definition of meta-ontology as the discourse on the meaning of being, and as the discourse on the tools and methods of ontological enquiry. This allows a balanced assessment of philosophical views on a cost-benefit basis, following multiple criteria for theory evaluation. Compelling and revealing, this new publication is a vital addition to contemporary philosophical ontology.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Concise yet comprehensive, Francesco Berto's study of Meinongian logic, semantics, and the object theory interpretation of existence, admirably covers the recent history and breaks new ground in its subject. Readable and well-researched, Berto's book provides an elegant field guide to basic concepts in Meinong scholarship, partnered with a phenomenologically motivated commitment to a referential domain of beingless alongside existent dynamic and abstract intended objects.

Dale Jacquette, Universität Bern

Institut für Philosophie

Berto’s book is a passionate defence of the old-fashioned yet for a long while discredited idea that existence is a first-order property that some individual possess while some others – past and future objects, intentional objects, fictional objects … - lack. Berto refreshens this idea by providing new intriguing arguments against its detractors and by developing what he calls Modal Meinongianism, a theory originally presented by Graham Priest. Noone interested in logico-semantical and ontological issues should refrain from carefully reading this book.

Alberto Voltolini

Department of Philosophy and Education Sciences, University of Turin

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9789400795884
  • Publisher: Springer Netherlands
  • Publication date: 11/9/2014
  • Series: Synthese Library Series, #356
  • Edition description: 2013
  • Pages: 242
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 0.55 (d)

Table of Contents

Prologue: Much Ado About Nothing.- Acknowledgments.- Existence as Logic.- Chapter 1. The Paradox of Non-Being.- Chapter 2. To Exist and to Count.- Chapter 3. Troubles for the Received View.- Nonexistence.- Chapter 4. Existence As a Real Property.- Chapter 5. Naïve Meinongianism.- Chapter 6. Meinongianisms of The First, Second, and Third Kind.- Close Encounters (with Nonexistents) of the Third Kind.- Chapter 7. Conceiving the Impossible.- Chapter 8. Nonexistents of The Third Kind at Work.- Chapter 9. Open Problems.- References.- Index.​

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