This book is both an introduction to and a research work on Meinongianism. “Meinongianism” is taken here, in accordance with the common philosophical jargon, as a general label for a set of theories of existence – probably the most basic notion of ontology. As an introduction, the book provides the first comprehensive survey and guide to Meinongianism and non-standard theories of existence in all their main forms. As a research work, the book exposes and develops the most up-to-date Meinongian theory (called modal Meinongianism), applies it to specific fields, and discusses its open problems. The unifying focus of the work is a single, basic philosophical notion: the notion of existence. Each main theory of the notion available in philosophy is introduced via a detailed, self-contained exposition, and critically evaluated, with the original research emerging in the final Chapters. Part I of the book provides a historical introduction to, and critical discussion of, the dominant philosophical view of existence: the “Kantian-Fregean-Quinean” perspective. Part II is the full-fledged introduction to the Meinongian theories of existence as a real property of individuals: after starting with the so-called naïve Meinongian conception and its problems, it provides a self-contained presentation of the main neo-Meinongian proposals, and a detailed discussion of their strengths and weaknesses. Part III develops a specific neo-Meinongian theory of existence employing a model-theoretic semantic framework. It discusses its application to the ontology and semantics of fictional objects, and its open problems. The methodology of the book follows the most recent trends in analytic ontology. In particular, the meta-ontological point of view is largely privileged.
- fictional entities
- impossible worlds