"Le problème du non-être dans la philosophie antique." 1990. Revue de Théologie et de Philosophie no. 122:297-432.
Actes du Colloque de philosophie antique tenu à Geève les 2 et 3 novembre 1989 à la mémoire d'Henri Joly.
Adams, Marilyn McCord. 1977. "Ockham's Nominalism and Unreal Entities." Philosophical Review no. 76:144-176.
———. 1987. William Ockham. South Bend, Indiana: University of Notre Dame Press.
See Volume 2, Chapters 23-27 (pp. 1011-1150) for the medieval discussions of God’s ideas of things merely possible and not actually
Amerini, Fabrizio, and Rode, Christian. 2009. "Franciscus de Prato's Tractatus de ente rationis. A Critical Edition with a
Historico-Philosophical Introduction." Archives d'Histoire Doctrinale et Littéraire du Moyen Age no. 76:261-312.
"This paper provides a critical edition of Francis of Prato’s Treatise on Being of Reason (Tractatus de ente
rationis). It is prefaced by a historico-philosophical introduction. Francis’s Treatise is one of the first Italian reactions to the diffusion of
William of Ockham’s philosophy of language and logic. Francis argues here against Ockham’s reduction of being of reason to acts of cognition, accounted for as
items existing ‘subjectively’ (subiective) in the mind. By contrast, following Thomas Aquinas and Hervaeus Natalis, he proposes a relational and ‘objective’
account of being of reason."
Andersen, Claus A. 2014. "Ens Rationis Ratiocinatae and Ens Rationis Ratiocinantis: Reflections on a New Book on Beings of Reason in
Baroque-Age Scholasticism." Quaestio. Journal of the History of Metaphysics no. 14:315-327.
———. 2016. Metaphysik im Barockscotismus. Untersuchungen zum Metaphysikwerk des Bartholomaeus Mastrius. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John
Mit Dokumentation der Metaphysik in der scotistischen Tradition ca. 1620-1750
Andras Varga, Peter. 2016. "The Non-Existing Object Revisited Meinong as the Link between Husserl and Russell." In Existence,
Fiction, Assumption: Meinongian Themes and the History of Austrian Philosophy, edited by David, Mariam and Antonelli, Mauro, 27-58. Berlin: Walter de
Ashworth, Earline Jennifer. 1977. "Chimeras and Imaginary Objects: A Study in the Post-Medieval Theory of Signification."
Vivarium no. 15:57-79.
Reprinted as essay III in: Studies in Post-Medieval Semantics.
"I. Prefatory Note.
In the following paper I shall be discussing a particular problem of meaning and reference as it was formulated by a group of logicians who studied
and/or taught at the University of Paris in the early sixteenth century.(1) In alphabetical order they are: Johannes Celaya (d. 1558) who was in Paris from
1500 or 1505 until 1524; Ferdinandus de Enzinas (d. 1528) who was in Paris from about 15x8 until 1522; John Major (1469-1550) who was in Paris from 1492 or
1493 until 1517 and again from 1525 to 1531; William Manderston who taught at Sainte-Barbe from about 1514 and returned to Scotland in or shortly before 1530;
Juan Martinez Siliceo (1486-1556) who left Paris in about 1516; Hieronymus Pardo (d. 1502 or 1505); Antonius Silvester who taught at Montaigu; and Domingo de
Soto (1494-1560) who left Paris in 1519. I shall also discuss the work of the Spaniard Augustinus Sbarroya and the Germans Jodocus Trutvetter (d. 1519) and
Johannes Eckius (1486-1543). Both Sbarroya and Eckius were well acquainted with the works of the Paris-trained logicians. Further material is drawn from the
fifteenth-century Johannes Dorp and the anonymous author of Commentum emendatum et correctum in primum et quartum tractatus Petri Hyspani. The work of
the medieval authors Robert Holkot, John Buridan and Marsilius of Inghen will appear as it was described by early sixteenth-century authors.
One of the main features of late medieval semantics was the attempt to formulate a unified theory of the reference of general terms. It is true
that this attempt was not explicitly discussed, but many of the problems which arose in the context of such topics as signification, supposition, ampliation,
appellation, and the logical relations between sentences clearly owed their existence to the assumption that general terms always referred to spatio-temporal
individuals; and in the solutions offered to these problems, much ingenuity was employed to ensure that this assumption was modified as little as possible, if
at all. I have already shown in two earlier papers how some logicians dealt with reference in the modal context “For riding is required a horse” and in the
intentional context “I promise you a horse.” (2) At the end of this paper, I shall discuss another intentional sentence, "A man is imaginarily an ass”,
which was thought to present a difficulty. However, it would be a mistake to think that context was the only complicating factor, for there were general terms
which placed an obstacle in the path of those seeking a unified theory, not only by virtue of the contexts in which they appeared, but by virtue of their
meaning. The favourite example of such terms was “chimera”, but “irrational man”, “braying man”, and “golden mountain” also served as illustrations. The
problem was not merely that they failed to refer, but rather that they were thought to be incapable of referring because the objects which they apparently
denoted were impossible just as, for the modern reader, a round square is impossible. The main purpose of the present paper is to explore the way in which the
problem was presented, and some of the solutions which were offered." (pp. 57-58)
This survey of the way some early sixteenth century logicians treated the problem of chimeras reveals very clearly the alternatives faced by any
philosopher who wants to give a unified theory of the reference of general terms. If one adopts a purely extensionalist interpretation of propositions, and
allows only ordinary spatio-temporal entities into one’s universe of discourse, then one is faced with the choice between rejecting as false many sentences,
such as “I imagine a chimera”, which one would wish to accept as true, and accepting as true many sentences, such as “ “Chimera” signifies an ass”, which one
would wish to reject as false. If one extends one’s universe of discourse to include imaginary objects which are not just ordinary objects regarded in a
certain way, one faces grave ontological problems. On the other hand, to appeal to appellation theory is to acknowledge that no purely extensionalist
interpretation of all propositions can be given and that no unified theory of reference is possible; and to adopt Holkot’s solution is to admit that sentences
which seem to be structurally similar are not in fact similar and that some sentences which appear to be about objects in the world are in fact about the
contents of our own minds. On the whole my sympathies lie with those who abandoned the belief that both general terms and subject-object sentences can be given
a uniform treatment, but I have great respect for the subtlety and sophistication with which arguments for a uniform treatment were presented. Post-medieval
logicians were by no means mindless followers of their medieval predecessors." (p. 79)
(2) E. J. Ashworth, 'For Riding is Required a Horse’: A Problem of Meaning and Reference in Late Fifteenth and Early Sixteenth Century Logic, in :
Vivarium 12 (1974), 94-123; E. J. Ashworth, Ί Promise You a Horse’: A Second Problem of Meaning and Reference in Late Fifteenth and Early Sixteenth
Century Logic, in: Vivarium 14 (1976), 62-79, 139-155." (pp. 57-58)
Azanza, Ana. 1995. "La polemica de Pedro de Atarrabia (m. 1347) con Pedro Aureolo (m. 1322) sobre la intuicion del no-existente."
Revista Espanola de Filosofia Medieval no. 2:71-78.
Bakaoukas, Michael. 2003. Nothing Exists. A History of the Philosophy of Non-Being. Bloomington: Xlibris Corporation.
———. 2014. "Nonexistence. A omparative-Historical Analysis of the Problem of Nonbeing." E-Logos. Electronic Journal fro
Barroso Fernández, Óscar. 2011. "Los entes de razón en Suárez. Una concepción barroca de la realidad." Anales del Seminario de
Historia de la Filosofía no. 28:135-161.
Abstract: "In this paper I shall show the relevant role which the beings of reason play in Suarez's philosophy, namely, the role of
being the guarantee of the scientific validity. For this thesis it is basic to discover the difference between the chimera and other beings of reason: the
negation, the relation of reason and the privation. In this way, Suarez sets the basis of the properly baroque way of understanding the world as an
extra-mental reality which is only cognoscible through the artful device of the being of reason. Suarez conceives the science from the Aristotelean
perspective, that is why he does not appreciate the mathematical beings of reason. Nevertheless, we do believe that the notion of being of reason is helpful in
the comprehension of the singularity of the baroque metaphysics in comparison to the posterior ontologism. We enter, therefore, in discussion with the marked
tendency to interpret the metaphysics of Suarez in an ontological way."
Barz, Wolfgang. 2008. "Aussersein des reinen Gegenstandes – ein Berührungspunkt zwischen Meinong und Quine." Zeitschrift für
Philosophische Forschung no. 62:358-384.
Benoist, Jocelyn. 2001. Représentations sans objet. Aux origines de la phénoménologie et de la philosophie analytique. Paris:
Presses Universitaires de France.
Berti, Enrico. 1983. "Quelques remarques sur la conception aristotélicienne de non-être." Revue de Philosophie Ancienne
———. 1990. "Être et non-être chez Aristote: contraires ou contradictoires?" Revue de Théologie et de Philosophie no.
Beuchot, Mauricio. 1987. Metafísica. La ontologia aristotélico-tomista de Francisco de Araújo. Ciudad de Mexico: Universidad
Nacional Autónoma de Mexico UNAM.
Biard, Joël. 1985. "La signification d'objets imaginaires dans quelques textes anglais du 14e siècle (Guillaume de Heytesbury, Henry
Hopton)." In The Rise of British Logic. Acts of the Sixth European Symposium of Medieval Logic and Semantics. Balliol College, Oxford, 19-24 June
1983, edited by Lewry, Patrick Osmund, 265-283. Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies.
Blackwell, Daniel F. 1988. Non-Ontological Constructs. The Effects of Abaelard's Logical and Ethical Theories of His Theology: A Study in
Meaning and Verification. Bern: Peter Lang.
Boccaccini, Federico. 2010. "Quasi umbrae entium. Suarez e Brentano sull'ens rationis." In Francisco Suarez and His Legacy. The
Impact of Suarezian Metaphysics and Epistemology on Modern Philosophy, edited by Sgarbi, Marco, 271-294. Milano: Vita e Pensiero.
Boehner, Philotheus. 1943. "The Notitia Intuitiva of Non-Existents according to William Ockham." Traditio no.
Reprinted in: P. Boehner, Collected Articles on Ockham, pp. 268-300.
———. 1948. "Notitia intuitiva of Non-existents According to Peter Aureoli, O.F.M. (1322)." Franciscan Studies no.
Bostock, David. 1984. "Plato on 'Is Not' (Sophist, 254-9)." Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy no.
"According to the received doctrine, which I do not question, the uses of the Greek verb 'to be' may first be distinguished into those
that are complete and those that are incomplete. In its incomplete uses the verb requires a complement of some kind (which may be left unexpressed), while in
its complete uses there is no complement, and it may be translated as 'to exist' or 'to be real' or 'to be true' or something of the kind. What role the
complete uses of the verb have to play in the Sophist as a whole is a vexed question, and one that I shall not discuss. For I think it will be
generally agreed, at least since Owen's important article of 1971, (1) that in our central section of the Sophist it is the incomplete uses that are
the centre of Plato's attention. Anyway, I shall confine my own attention to these uses, and accordingly my project is to elucidate and evaluate Plato's
account of 'is not' where the 'is' is incomplete. I might also add here that, for the purposes of the Sophist as a whole, I am in agreement with
Owen's view that what Plato himself took to be crucial was the account of 'not', and what he has to say about 'is' is, in his own eyes, merely ancillary to
this. But I do not argue that point, partly because Owen has already done so, and partly because it is not needed for my main contentions. As we shall see, one
cannot in fact understand what Plato does say about 'not' without first considering his views on the incomplete 'is'.
Reverting to the received doctrine once more, the incomplete uses of 'is' may be divided into two. In one sense the verb functions as an identity sign, and
means the same as 'is the same as', while in the other it functions merely as a sign of predication, coupling subject to predicate, and cannot be thus
paraphrased. The vast majority of commentators on the Sophist seem agreed that Plato means to distinguish, and succeeds in distinguishing, these two
different senses of the verb.(2) This I shall deny. In fact I shall argue not only that Plato failed to see the distinction, but also that his failure,
together with another ambiguity that he fails to see, wholly vitiates his account of the word 'not'. The central section of the Sophist is therefore
one grand logical mistake." (pp. 89-90)
(1) Plato on Not-Being in Plato I, ed. G. Vlastos (New York, 1971), 223-267.
(2) One may note P. Shorey, What Plato Said (Chicago, 1933), 298; J. L. Ackrill, ‘Plato and the Copula’, Journal of Hellenic Studies,
LXXVII (1957), 1-6 esp. 2; J. M. E. Moravcsik, 'Being and Meaning in the Sophist’, Acta Philosophica Fennica, XIV (1962), 23-64 esp. 51; W. G.
Runciman, Plato’s Later Epistemology (Cambridge, 1962), 89; I. M. Crombie, An Examination of Plato’s Doctrines, vol. II (London, 1963), 449;
R. S. Bluck, Plato's Sophist (Manchester, 1975), 151; J. Malcolm, ‘Plato’s Analysis of to on and to me on in the Sophist',
Phronesis, XII (1967), 130-46 esp. 145; Owen, above n. 1, 256; G. Vlastos, ‘An Ambiguity in the Sophist' in his Platonic Studies (Princeton,
1973), 287; and I would add J. McDowell, ‘Falsehood and not-being in Plato’s Sophist’ in Language and Logos, ed M. Schofield and M. Nussbaum
(Cambridge, 1982), 115-34 (discussed below). But the older commentators do not always agree, e.g. F. M. Comford, Plato’s Theory of Knowledge (London,
1935), 296, and A. E. Taylor, Plato, the Sophist and the Statesman (London, 1961), 82. More recently J. C. B. Gosling, Plato (London, 1973),
216-20, has put the case for scepticism, and F. A. Lewis, ‘Did Plato discover the estin of identity?’, California Studies in Classical
Antiquity, VIII (1975), 113-43, has argued it at length.
Brunschwig, Jacques. 1990. "Sur une façon stoicienne de ne pas être." Revue de Théologie et de Philosophie no.
Burnyeat, Myles. 2002. "Plato on How to Speak of What Is Not: Euthydemus 283a-288a." In Le Style de la pensée. Recueil
de textes en hommage à Jacques Brunschwig, edited by Canto-Sperber, Monique and Pellegrin, Pierre, 40-66. Paris: Les Belles Lettres.
Cantens, Bernardo J. 2003. "Suárez on Beings of Reason: What Kinds of Beings (entia) are Beings of Reason, and What Kind of
Being (esse) Do They Have?" American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly no. 77:171-187.
"Beings of reason or non-existent objects have always been a source of mind-boggling paradoxes that have vexed philosophers and thinkers
in the past and present. Consider Bertrand Russell's paradox: 'if A and B are not different, then the difference between A and B does not subsist. But how can
a non-entity be the subject of a proposition?' Or Meinong's paradox: 'There are objects of which it is true that there are no such objects.' At the root of
these troubling conundrums are two basic questions: What are beings of reason? What kind of existence do they have? Francisco Suárez was well aware that a
solution to the metaphysical questions concerning the essential character of beings of reason and their ontological status would serve as the key to solving
the puzzles and paradoxes just described. A solution to these metaphysical questions would also bring about an understanding of how we talk about beings of
reason and other problems that they give rise to in the philosophy of language. In this paper, I present Suárez's view on the nature and ontological status of
beings of reason and clarify some of the following questions: What kind of beings (entia) are beings of reason? What kind of being (esse) do
beings of reason have? This latter concern is related to the following metaphysical issues: What are real beings? What is the nature and ontological status of
possible beings? What is the distinction between real beings, actual beings, and possible beings?"
Carson, Scott. 2000. "Aristotle on Existential Import and Non Referring Subjects." Synthese no. 124:343-360.
Abstract: "Much contemporary philosophy of language has shown considerable interest in the relation between our linguistic practice and
our metaphysical commitments, and this interest has begun to influence work in the history of philosophy as well.(1) In his Categories and De
interpretatione, Aristotle presents an analysis of language that can be read as intended to illustrate an isomorphism between the ontology of the real
world and how we talk about that world. Our understanding of language is at least in part dependent upon our understanding of the relationships that exist
among the enduring πράγματα that we come across in our daily experience. Part of the foundations underlying Aristotle’s doctrine of categories seems to have
been a concern, going back to the Academy, about the problem of
false propositions: language is supposed to be a tool for communicating the way things are, and writers in antiquity were often puzzled by the problem of
how we are to understand propositions that claim that reality is other than it is.(2) Aristotle’s analysis of propositions raises a particular problem in this
regard: if the subject of a proposition does not refer to anything, how can the proposition be useful for talking about a state of the world?
The problem falls into two separate but related parts: propositions whose subjects are singular terms and hence make claims about some particular thing, and
propositions whose subjects are general terms and hence make claims about classes. In this paper I will explain Aristotle’s treatment of each kind, focusing in
particular on what has widely been perceived as a problem in his treatment of singular terms. My discussion of his treatment of general terms will be more
brief, but will show that his treatment of them is consistent with his treatment of singular terms."
(1) An interesting treatment of this topic that illustrates how such concerns intersect with issues in the history of philosophy can be found in Diamond
(1996), Introduction II (pp. 13–38). Whittaker (1996) also touches on these themes.
(2) On the treatment by ancient philosophers of the problem of falsehood see Denyer (1991).
Denyer, N.: 1991, Language, Thought and Falsehood in Ancient Greek Philosophy, Routledge, London.
Diamond, C.: 1996, The Realistic Spirit: Wittgenstein, Philosophy, and the Mind, MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.
Whittaker, C.: 1996, Aristotle’s De Interpretatione: Contradiction and Dialectic, Clarendon Press, Oxford.
Caston, Victor. 1999. "Something and Nothing: The Stoics on Concepts and Universals." Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy
Cesalli, Laurent, Libera, Alain de, and Goubier, Frédéric. 2013. "Does Loving Every Mean Loving Every Every, Even Non-existent Ones?
Distribution and Universals in the Opus puerorum " In Logic and Language in the Middle Ages: A Volume in Honour of Sten Ebbesen, edited
by Leth Fink, Jacob, Hansen, Heine and Mora-Márquez, Ana María, 305-336. Leiden: Brill.
Chrudzimski, Arkadiusz. 2005. "Drei Versionen der Meinongschen Logik." Zeitschrift für Philosophische Forschung no.
Cocchiarella, Nino. 1982. "Meinong Reconstructed versus Early Russell Reconstructed." Journal of Philosophical Logic no.
Reprinted as Chapter 3 in Logical Studies in Early Analytic Philosophy, pp. 119-151.
"Contemporary philosophy is in a rut, according to Terence Parsons in his recent book Nonexistent Objects, ([NO]), and it is one that stems
from the (post-1905) work of Bertrand Russell. The main characteristic of this “Russellian rut” ([NO], 1) is strict adherence to the thesis that being, or
being something, amounts to being something that exists—or equivalently that ‘there is’ is to be equated with ‘there exists’ ([NO], 6). This view is now so
well entrenched, according to Parsons, that it is a main stay of what he also calls the orthodox tradition.
Now the orthodox view is in a rut, according to Parsons, “because it’s a view in which most of us are so entrenched that it’s hard to see over the edges”
([NO], 1). Naturally, if we want “to look over the edge and see how things might be different” ([NO], 8), as any objective seeker of truth would, then “we need
to encounter an actual theory about nonexistent objects” (ibid.). It is the construction and presentation of such a theory that is Parsons’s concern in
"Now we do not object to Parsons’s choice of Meinong’s theory here, nor for that matter to his elegant reconstruction and presentation of that theory.
We do think, however, that a more balanced recognition of Russell’s overall view is called for and that perhaps the best way to make the Meinongian notion of a
concrete object understandable to the orthodox tradition is to compare it with the general Russellian notion of a concrete individual, i.e., the Russellian
notion of an individual that can exist but which might in fact not exist. Indeed, on the basis of the analysis and comparison we shall give here, it is our
position that the Meinongian notion of a concrete object, at least as reconstructed by Parsons, is parasitic upon, though in a beneficent way, the Russellian
notion of a concrete individual, existent or otherwise." (pp. 119-121)
[NO] Parsons, Terence, Nonexistent Objects, (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1980.)
Coombs, Jeffrey S. 1993. "The Possibility of Created Entities in Seventeenth-Century Scotism." The Philosophical Quarterly
———. 1994. "John Poinsot On How to Be, Know, and Love a Nonexistent Possible." American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly
Couloubaritsis, Lambros. 1990. "La logique du mythe et la question du non-être." Revue de Théologie et de Philosophie no.
Cova, Luciano. 1976. "Francesco di Meyronnes e Walter Catton nella controversia scolastica sulla 'notitia intuitiva de re non
existente'." Medioevo no. 2:227-252.
Abstract: "The paper examines the position of two Franciscan fourteenth-century theologians about the question regarding the possibility
(“naturaliter” or “de potentia Dei”) of a non-existing object’s intuitive knowledge. Even if in very different ways and with distinct purposes, both Francis of
Meyronnes in Paris and Walter Chatton in Oxford in the same years seem to defend the gnoseology of Duns Scotus, in polemic (but also partially in agreement)
with Peter Aureoli and William of Ockham."
D'Onofrio, Sandro Roberto. 2017. "Notes Concerning the Ontological Status of the Objective Concept of the ens rationis in Antonio
Rubio’s Teaching " In Scholastica Colonialis: Reception and Development of Baroque Scholasticism in Latin America, 16th-18th Centuries, edited by
Hofmeister Pich, Roberto and Culleton, Alfredo Santiago, 207-229. Turnhout: Brepols.
Dancy, Russell M. 1991. Two Studies in the Early Academy. New York: State University of New York Press.
Contents: Preface IX, Introduction XI-XII; Study I. Predication and immanence: Anaxagoras, Plato, Eudoxus, and Aristotle 3; Study II. Ancient
non-beings: Speusippus and others 63; Notes 121; Bibliography 179; Index locorum 205; General index 215.
David, Marian. 1986. "Nonexistence and Reid’s Conception of Conceiving." Grazer Philosophische Studien no.
Abstract: "Brentano's famous thesis of the Intentionality of the Mental was already formulated by Thomas Reid who used it in his
campaign against the Locke-Berkeley-Hume Theory of Ideas. Apphed to the case of conceiving the thesis says that to conceive is to conceive something. This
principle stands in apparent conflict with the common-sensical view, defended by Reid, that we can conceive what does not exist. Both principles, it is argued,
are plausible and should be retained. The problem is how to resolve the apparent contradiction. Reid's way out of the dilemma is clarified by contrasting it
with less satisfactory solutions."
Davis, Leo Donald. 1975. "The Intuitive Knowledge of Non-Existents and the Problem of Late Medieval Skepticism." The New
Scholasticism no. 49:410-430.
Demonet, Marie-Lucie. 2002. "Les êtres de raison, ou les modes d'être de la littérature." In Res et Verba in der Renaissance.
Proceedings of a Colloquium held at Herzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel in 1998, edited by Kessler, Eckhard and Maclean, Ian, 177-195. Wiesbaden:
Di Liso, Saverio. 1984. "Domingo de Soto sulla questione 'Utrum subiectum logicae sit ens rationis'." Rivista di Storia della
Filosofia no. 53:567-598.
Doyle, John Patrick. 1987. "Suárez on Beings of Reason and Truth (First part)." Vivarium no. 25:47-75.
Reprinted as Chapter 7 in CSS and as Chapter 2 in BBK.
"The sixth essay after the introduction ("Suárez on Beings of Reason and Truth"), against a background view of truth as a function
of being, considers Suárez's response to the question of truth where there is no real being independent of the mind. If truth consists in a conformity between
the mind and reality, how can there be any truth where there is no independent reality? Most of all, how can there be any truth where something would be
impossible of realization? In last analysis, Suárez's reply turns upon the significative cast of the words involved in the expression of beings of reason,
especially so called impossible objects. Because, unlike mere nonsense words such as "Blytiri" or "scyndapsus," words
like "goat-stag" or "chimera" have signification, there is in their regard, and in regard to the beings of reason they
express, the possibility of some statements being true even as others are false." (CSS p. XIII).
———. 1988. "Suárez on Beings of Reason and Truth (Second part)." Vivarium no. 26:51-72.
Reprinted as Chapter 7 in CSS and as Chapter 2 in BBK.
"From Parmenides on, it has been a commonplace in the Western philosophical tradition that truth is a function of being. One need only remember the
general Platonic doctrine of Forms, which are at once 'really real' and the locus of intelligibility of truth. Francis Suarez has passed on the common teaching
of the Schoolmen that truth is threefold. (1) There is a truth in words, in writing, and in what he calls 'non-ultimate concepts' which is termed truth 'in
signifying'. (2) There is a truth in the intellect knowing things, which is called truth 'in knowing'. And (3) there is a truth in things, which is a truth 'in
"This is the completion of a two-part article which considers Suarez's reply to the question of truth where there is no real being independent of the
mind. That reply turns upon the significative cast of the words expressing beings of reason, especially "impossible" beings. Because such words,
unlike nonsense syllables, have signification, there is in their regard, and in regard to the beings of reason they express, the possibility of some statements
being true even as others are false."
———. 1994. "Poinsot on the Knowability of Beings of Reason." American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly no. 68:337-362.
"John Poinsot (a.k.a. Joannes a sancto Thoma (1589-1644) was heir to a common division of beings into these that are in themselves real
and those which are entirely dependent upon human reason. Those division went back to Aristotle's split between being as found in the categories and being as
true. In the Middle Ages and thorough the period of the Spanish Revival, it was found, mutatis mutandis, in Averroes (d. 1198), St. Thomas Aquinas
(1225-1274), Henry of Ghent (1217?-1293), John Duns Scotus (1266-1308), Francisco Suárez (1548-1617), and just about everyone else in the Scholastic
One of the very few exceptions that I know to this general rule was Francis of Mayronnes, O.F.M. (d. ca. 1325), who denied the existence of beings of
reason. Not only an heir, Poinsot himself embraced and transmitted the common view. For him, beings were either real or rational. Real beings (res extra
animam) were those which exist, or can exist, independently of the human mind and which belong in the Aristotelian categories. Rational beings, or beings
of reason, in the sense which contrasts with this, were those which do not belong to the categories, and which cannot exist outside human understanding. That
there are such beings of reason was not for Poinsot a matter of doubt."
———. 1995. "Another God, Chimerae, Goat-Stags, and Man-Lions: a Seventeenth Century Debate About Impossible Objects." Review of
Metaphysics no. 48:771-808.
Reprinted as Chapter 4 in BBK and as Post-Scriptum in: Victor M. Salas (ed.), Hircocervi & Other Metaphysical Wonders.
Essays in Honor of John P. Doyle, Milwaukee, Marquette University Press, 2013, pp. 329-367.
"This article concerns a 17th Century debate over whether there are self-contradictory impossible objects of understanding or whether there is no
intellectual object which is not some actual or possible being. The debate, which has its roots in the Greek and Scholastic traditions, is presented especially
between two Jesuits: Thomas Compton Carleton and John Morawski, respectively, a proponent and an opponent of impossible objects. The article itself does not
take sides in the debate, but, inasmuch as he wrote later, Morawski is presented as espousing his own view and answering arguments in support of Carleton's
———. 2006. "Mastri and Some Jesuits on Possible and Impossible Objects of God's Knowledge and Power." In Rem in seipsa cernere:
saggi sul pensiero filosofico di Bartolomeo Mastri (1602-1673), edited by Forlivesi, Marco, 439-468. Padova: Il Poligrafo.
"Why are some things possible while others are not? Is possibility and/or impossibility ultimately from God Himself? If so, how can this
be understood? Is it, as St Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) thought, stemming from God's intellect in such way that creatures are possible inasmuch as the divine
essence is thought by God to be imitable in various ways? Accordingly, God's intellect rather than possible creatures would be the cause of their multiplicity.
But further obstacles are posed by the Divine simplicity. St Thomas himself has addressed the question of how can the absolutely simple Divine intellect
understand at once many things? Or how can what is simple be imitable in various ways? How can what is perfectly one be the last ground of plurality? This last
difficulty was highlighted in the time between Plato and St. Thomas by those to whom it seemed, at best, that from what is simply one, necessarily only one
thing could proceed.
Contrasted with this, perhaps the final ground for things being many as well as possible or impossible might be that God has freely willed them so. This
seems to have been the view of Henry of Ghent (1217-1293) when he said that the passive potency of creatures and the active power of God are correlative. It
was also the thought of William of Ockham (ca. 1290-1349), whose disciple, Gabriel Biel (1410?-95), has gone even more decidedly along this path. Are
possibilities themselves, then, creatures of God, depending on His will to make them as they are? If yes, is it in God’s power to make other things possible
and then to create them - things which are now impossible? Could God make square circles or a second God? Without restraint from what is beforehand possible,
could God abrogate the present moral order and substitute another in its place?
(Or can there be a third, on its face more Platonic, position which would find the source of multiplicity, possibility, and impossibility in other beings
which are equally independent with God? Other Gods or “Semi-gods”? Like Plato’s Demiurge, could the Christian God be bound by a set of antecedent possibilities
which are not other Gods and which are not His creatures but which are simply “there”, governing His action? We might recoil from such a position, but that
won’t solve problems.
2. Some sources
The 17th century Conventual Franciscan, Bartolomeo Mastri, (1602-1673), came to such problems chiefly as a continuator and an interpreter of Duns Scotus
(1266-1308), for him “the Doctor”. (17) But between Mastri and the Subtle Doctor centuries had intervened, during which there were other interpreters and
different lines of thought about possibles and impossibles. The present paper is confined to Mastri’s views both personal and as an interpreter; and it will
try to relate these views to those of some 17th-century Jesuit thinkers whose works were known to him.
Primary sources for Mastri’s doctrine will be in his (so posthumously called) Cursus integer of philosophy, the first three volumes of which he
co-authored with his friend and fellow Franciscan, Bonaventura Belluto (1601-1678), (18) whereas the last two, which contain his metaphysical disputations, he
afterwards produced alone. (19) My emphasis will be on his metaphysical Disputation 8 (On the Essence and Existence of Finite Being) and, from their joint
logic, Disputation 3, question 6 (On Beings of Reason). I will also draw on Mastri’s later Disputationes theologicæ which contain his mature doctrine.
(20) The remote source for Mastri’s views will be the writings of his master, Duns Scotus, especially the Ordinatio, most particularly, Book I,
distinctions 35, 36, and 43. (21) Someone always present will be the Irish Franciscan, John Punch (Poncius, 1603-1672/3), who was over decades Mastri’s
principal opponent. (22)". (pp. 440-443, many notes omitted).
(17) On Mastri, see M. Forlivesi, “Scotistarum princeps”. Bartolomeo Mastri (1602-1673) e il suo tempo, Padova: Centro studi antoniani, 2002. In
English, cf. B. Crowley, “The Life and Works of Bartholomew Mastrius, O.F.M. Conv. 1602-1673”, in Franciscan Studies, 8 (1948), pp. 97-152.
(18) I have used the following edition: Mastrius - Bellutus, Philosophise ad mentem Scoti cursus integer, Venetiis: Apud Nicolaum Pezzana,
(19) Here I have used Mastrius, Disputationes in XII Aristotelis Stagiritæ libros Metaphysicorum, 2 vols., Venetiis: Typis Marci Ginammi,
(20) For this I have used: Mastrius, Disputationes theologicæ, I In primum librum Sententiarum, Venetiis: Apud Ioannem Iacobum Hertz, 1675
(archetypal edition Venetiis: Apud Ioannem Iacobum Hertz, 1655). In addition, I have had access to: Mastrius, Disputationes theologicæ, I In primum lihrum
Sententiarum, Venetiis: Ex Typographia Balleoniana, 1719. From what I have seen, I would judge the 1675 edition to be better.
(21) In Joannes Duns Scouts, Opera omnia, ed. Commissio scotistica, Civitas Vaticana: Typis polyglottis vaticanis, 1950-.
(22) I. Poncius, Philosophiae ad mentem Scoti cursus integer, Lugduni: Sumptibus Laurentii Arnaud et Petri Borde, 1672. On Punch, cf. M.J.
Grajewski, “John Punch, Franciscan Scotist of the Seventeenth Century”, in Franciscan Studies, 6 (1946), pp. 54-92. For Punch versus Mastri here, see
J. Coombs, “The Possibility of Created Entities in Seventeenth-Century Scotism”, in The Philosophical Quarterly, 43 (1993), pp. 447-459; St. Sousedík,
“Der Streit um den wahren Sinn der scotischen Possibilienlehre”, in John Duns Scotus. Metaphysics and Ethics, eds. L. Honnefelder, R. Wood and M.
Dreyer, Leiden - New York - Köln: E. J. Brill, 1996, pp. 191-204; and T. Hoffmann, “Creatura intellecta”. Die Ideen und Possibilien bei Duns Scotus mit
Ausblick auf Franz von Mayronis, Poncius und Mastrius, Münster: Aschendorff Verlag, 2002, especially ch. 7, pp. 263-304.
———. 2012. On the Borders of Being and Knowing. Late Scholastic Theory of Supertranscendental Being. Leuven: Leuven University
Edited by Victor M. Salas.
Table of Contents: Editor's Foreword VII-IX; Introduction XIII-XVI; 1. Sprouts from Greek Gardens: Antisthenes, Plato, Aristotle, and the Stoics (first
publication) 1; 2. Suarez on Beings of Reason and Truth 19; 3. Extrinsic Cognoscibility 67; 4. Impossible Objects 95; 5. The Teleology of Impossible Objects
127; 6. Beings of Reason and Imagination 151; 7. Four Degrees of Abstraction 167; 8. From Transcendental to Transcendental 185; 9. Supertranscendental Nothing
215; 10. Wrestling with Wraith 243; 11. The Borders of Knowability 273; 12. Conclusion 293; Bibliography 301; Indices 319-326.
"Sylvester Mauro, S.J. (1619-1687) noted that human intellects can grasp what is, what is not, what can be, and what cannot be. The first principle,
'it is not possible that the same thing simultaneously be and not be,' involves them all.
The present volume begins with Greeks distinguishing 'being' from 'something' and proceeds to the late Scholastic doctrine of 'supertranscendental being,'
which embraces both. On the way is Aristotle's distinction between 'being as being' and 'being as true' and his extension of the latter to include impossible
objects. The Stoics will see 'something' as the widest object of human cognition and will affirm that, as signifiable, impossible objects are something, more
than mere nonsense. In the sixteenth century, Francisco Suárez will identify mind-dependent beings most of all with impossible objects and will also regard
them as signifiable. By this point, two conceptions will stand in opposition. One, adumbrated by Averroes, will explicitly accept the reality and knowability
of impossible objects. The other, going back to Alexander of Aphrodisias, will see impossibles as accidental and false conjunctions of possible objects.
Seventeenth-century Scholastics will divide on this line, but in one way or another will anticipate the Kantian notion of 'der Gegenstand überhaupt.' Going
farther, Scholastics will see the two-sided upper border of being and knowing at God and the negative theology, and will fix the equally double lower border at
'supertranscendental being' and 'supertranscendental nonbeing,' which non-being, remaining intelligible, will negate the actual, the possible, and even the
Ebbesen, Sten. 1986. "The Chimera's Diary." In The Logic of Being, edited by Knuuttila, Simo and Hintikka, Jaakko,
115-143. Dordrecht: Reidel.
Reprinted in: S. Ebbesen, Greek-Latin Philosophical Interaction. Collected Essays, Volume 1, Aldershot: Ashgate, 2008, pp.
"My feelings towards philosophers are mixed. For centuries they have used me as an experimental animal, keeping me on a minimum of being. In a way I
may owe them my “life”, but their experiments have weakened me so much that the end may be drawing near. If my weakness proves fatal, please inform the
Centaur, Goat-Stag and Pegasus, who are my next of kin. If the philosophers kill me, I expect them to keep at least one of my relatives alive in order to
continue the experiments. If we are all doomed, I would like to secure us a place in man’s memory. This is why I have put together these extracts from my
diary, recording the sufferings to which I and my tribe have been subjected." (*)"
(*) "This paper reproduces the manuscript left by the chimera, but I have added references to books and manuscripts, plus a few notes which appear in
square brackets. The reader will notice that the chimera has wisely disregarded accidental changes of philosophers’ choices of example when they need a
composite animal. The chimera takes remarks about, e.g., the goat-stag as remarks aimed at itself. As a matter of fact, Aristotle and the Greek Aristotelian
commentators prefer the goat-stag (τραγελαφος) and the centaur (ίπποχέvταυρος). In the Hellenistic period, the centaur, the scylla and the chimera are the
standard examples. In Latin medieval texts the chimera (inherited from Manlius Boethius) is vastly more popular than any of the other composite
Ebbesen, Sten, and Pinborg, Jan. 1982. "Thott 581 40, or de ente rationis." In English Logic in Italy: 14th and 15th
Centuries, edited by Maierù, Alfonso, 111-146. Napoli: Bibliopolis.
Fernández-Rodríguez, José Luis. 1972. El ente de razón en Francisco Araújo. Pamplona: Ediciones Universidad de Navarra.
———. 1994. "El "ens rationis", un caso de objeto puro." Anuario Filosófico no. 27:297-318.
———. 1997. "Etiología del ente de razón." Philosophica no. 19-20:109-120.
———. 1997. "Tipología del ente de razón." Anuario Filosófico no. 30:361-379.
Findlay, John Niemeyer. 1933. Meinong's Theory of Objects. London: Oxford University Press.
Contents of the Second Edition: Preface to the Second Edition V-XV; I. The Doctrine of Content and Object 1; II. The Pure Object and Its
Indifference to Being 42; III. The Theory of Objectives 59; IV: The Modal Moment 102; V. Objects of Higher Order 113; VI. The Theory of Incomplete Objects 152;
VII. The Modal Properties of Objectives 185; VIII.The Apprehension of Objects 218; IX. Valuation and Values 264; X. Dignitatives and Desideratives 303; XI.
Appraisal of Meinong 322; Index 349-353.
Second edition in 1963 (Gregg Revivals Reprint); the chapters IX and X were added in this edition.
Reprinted with the title: Meinong's Theory of Objects and Values and a new Introduction. Findlay and Meinong by Dale Jacquette (pp.
XXV-LIV), Aldershot: Ashgate, 1995.
Folescu, Marina. 2016. "Thinking About Different Nonexistents of the Same Kind: Reid's Account of the Imagination and its Nonexistent
Objects." Philosophy and Phenomenological Research no. 93:627-649.
Abstract: "How is it that, as fiction readers, we are nonplussed by J. K. Rowling's prescription to imagine Ronan, Bane, and Magorian,
three different centaurs of the Forbidden Forrest at Hogwarts? It is usually held in the philosophical literature on fictional discourse that singular
imaginings of fictional objects are impossible, given the blatant nonexistence of such objects. In this paper, I have a dual purpose: (i) on the one hand, to
show that, without being committed to Meinongeanism, we can explain the phenomenon of singular imaginings of different nonexistents of the same (fictional)
kind; (ii) while, at the same time, to attribute this position to Thomas Reid, thus correcting some misunderstandings of his view on imagination."
Frank, Richard M. 2000. "The Non-Existent and the Possible in Classical Ash'arite Teaching." MIDEO. Miscellanies of the
Dominican Institute for Oriental Studies in Cairo no. 24:1-37.
Gale, Richard M. 1974. "Bergson Analysis of the Concept of Nothing." Modern Schoolman no. 51:269-300.
González, Angel Luis. 1994. "Lo meramente posible." Anuario Filosófico no. 27:345-364.
Goubier, Frédéric, and Perini-Santos, Ernesto. 2015. "When the World is Not Enough: Medieval Ways to Deal with the Lack of
Referents." Logica Universalis:213-235.
Abstract: "According to several late medieval logicians, the use the universal quantifier ‘omnis’ creates the requirement that the
sentence refers to at least three items—the principle of sufficientia appellatorum. The commitment is such that, when the quota is not fulfilled, one
has to import the missing items from the realm of the nonexistent. While the central argument for this principle, whose origin is Aristotle’s De
Caelo, stems from the contrast between unrestricted universal quantifiers and binary quantifiers, the discussion is often mixed with another issue,
concerning the requirement of a plurality of referents for universals. In this paper, we try to distinguish those different issues and map the reactions of
xiiith authors to the principle of sufficientia appellatorum."
Griffin, Nicholas. 1986. "Russell's Critique of Meinong's Theory of Objects." Grazer Philosophische Studien no.
Grossmann, Reinhardt. 1969. "Non-Existent Objects: Recent Work on Brentano and Meinong." American Catholic Philosophical
Quarterly no. 6:17-32.
———. 1974. "Meinong's doctrine of the "Aussersein" of the pure object." Nous no. 8:67-82.
Habib, Nicholas. 1985. "A Medieval Perspective on the Meaningfulness of Fictitious Terms: A Study of John Buridan." Franciscan
Studies no. 45:73-82.
Haller, Rudolf. 1986. "Nonexistence and Predication." Grazer Philosophische Studien no. 25/26.
Heider, Daniel. 2016. "The Notitia Intuitiva and Notitia Abstractiva of the External Senses in Second Scholasticism: Suárez, Poinsot and
Francisco de Oviedo." Vivarium no. 54:173-203.
Abstract: "This paper analyzes the theories of three representatives of Second Scholasticism, namely Francisco Suárez, SJ, John Poinsot,
OP, and Francisco de Oviedo, SJ, on the issue of the intuitive and abstractive cognition of the external senses. Based on a comparison of their theories,
linked to the historical starting point of the debate in the first decades of the fourteenth century (Peter Auriol, John Duns Scotus, Francis
of Meyronnes, William of Ockham and Walter Chatton), the paper argues that the doctrinal and argumentative matrix of these authors’ texts is significantly
‘present’ in the Second Scholastics as well. 1) As far as naturally produced sensation is concerned, all these authors, including Poinsot, follow the Scotistic
justification of the natural infallibility of the external senses; 2) regarding the possibility of supernaturally
caused objectless perception, Poinsot’s position can be labelled, surprisingly, Scotistic; 3) Suárez’s theory, although partly similar to the doctrine of
the late Ockham, is an idiosyncratic stance; 4) Oviedo’s conception, even more distant from that of Ockham, can be characterized as ‘Auriolian’ and
Hübner, Karolina. 2016. "Spinoza on Essences, Universals, and Beings of Reason." Pacific Philosophical Quarterly no.
Abstract: "The article proposes a new solution to the long‐standing problem of the universality of essences in Spinoza's ontology. It
argues that, according to Spinoza, particular things in nature possess unique essences, but that these essences coexist with more general, mind‐dependent
species‐essences, constructed by finite minds on the basis of similarities (‘agreements’) that obtain among the properties of formally‐real particulars. This
account provides the best fit both with the textual evidence and with Spinoza's other metaphysical and epistemological commitments. The article offers new
readings of how Spinoza understands not just the nature of essence, but also the nature of being, reason, striving, definitions, and different kinds of
Jacquette, Dale. 1982. "Meinong's Theory of Defective Objects." Grazer Philosophische Studien no. 15:1-19.
"In his difficult work On Emotional Presentation, Meinong introduces the concept of defective objects. These are meant to provide part
of the solution to Mally's paradox about self-referential thought. But the discussion of defective objects is ambiguous in ways which give rise to a
It is not clear whether defective objects are supposed to be a special kind of intentional object on Meinong's theory, or whether they are not really
supposed to be intentional objects at all. If defective objects are a special kind of intentional object, then it is possible to put forward a strengthened
version of Mally's paradox which cannot be solved by the theory of defective objects. The strengthened paradox represents a counter-example to the
intentionality thesis, according to which every psychological experience is directed toward an object of intention. But if defective 'objects' are not really
intentional objects at all, then psychological experiences which have defective objects will themselves constitute counter-examples to the intentionality
thesis. In either case, the thesis cannot be consistently maintained." (p. 1)
———. 1989. "Mally's Heresy and the Logic of Meinong Object Theory." History and Philosophy of Logic no. 10:1-14.
———. 1989. "On the objects' independence from thought by Ernst Mally translation and commentary " Man and World no.
———. 1995. "Meinong's Concept of Implexive Being and Nonbeing." Grazer Philosophische Studien no. 50:233-271.
"Meinong introduces the concept of implexive being and nonbeing to explain the metaphysics of universals and as a contribution to the
theory of reference and perception. Meinong accounts for Aristotle's doctrine of the inherence of secondary substances in primary substances in object theory
terms as the implection of incomplete universals in complete existent or subsistent objects. The derivative notion of implexive so-being is developed by
Meinong to advance an intuitive modal semantics that admits degrees of possibility. A set theoretical interpretation of Meinong's mereological concept of the
implection of incomplete beingless objects in existent or subsistent complete objects is proposed. The implications of Meinong's concept of implection are
exploited to answer extensionalist objections about "Meinong's jungle," defending the ontic economy of an extraontological neo-Meinongian semantic
domain that supports individual reference and true predication of constitutive properties to beingless objects."
———. 1996. Meinongian Logic. The Semantics of Existence and Nonexistence. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.
Contents: Preface IX; Introduction 1;
Part One: Meinong's theory of Objects.
I. Elements of Object theory 7; II. Formal semantic paradox in Meinong's Object theory 12; III. Meinong's theory of Defective Objects 37; IV. The Object
theory intentionality of ontological committment 56; V. Logic, mind and Meinong 70; VI. Meinong's doctrine of the modal moment 80;
Parto Two: Object theory O.
I. Syntax, formation and inference principles 95; II. Semantics 101; III. Developments of the logic 114;
Part Three: Philosophical problems and applications.
I. Twardowski on Content and Object 193; II: Private language and private mental objects 200; III. God an impossible Meinongian Object 230; IV. Meinongian
models of scientific law 238; V. Aesthetics and Meinongian Logic of Fiction 256; VI. The Paradox of Analysis 265;
Bibliography 269; Index 285.
"Alexius Meinong and his circle of students and collaborators at the Philosophisches Institut der Universität Graz formulated the basic principles for
a general theory of objects.(1) They developed branches and applications of the theory, outlined programs for further research, and answered objections from
within and outside their group, revising concepts and sharpening distinctions as they proceeded. The object theory that emerged as the result of their efforts
combines important advances over traditional systems of logic, psychology, and semantics.The fate of object theory in the analytic philosophical community has
been unfortunate in many ways. With few exceptions, the theory has not been sympathetically interpreted. It has often met with unfounded resistance and
misunderstanding under the banner of what Meinong called "The prejudice in favor of the actual". (2) The idea of nonexistent objects has wrongly been
thought to be incoherent or confused, and there are still those who mistakenly believe that the theory inflates ontology with metaphysically objectionable
quasi-existent entities.' These criticisms are dealt with elsewhere by object theory adherents, and are not considered here. In what follows, the
intelligibility of an object theory such as Meinong envisioned is assumed, and ultimately vindicated by the construction of a logically consistent version. The
inadequacies of extensionalist theories of ontological commitment and definite description, hallmarks of the Russell-Quine axis in recent analytic philosophy,
justify an alternative intentional Meinongian object theory logic. Analytic philosophy survives the rejection of extensionalist treatments of definite
description and ontological commitment, since analytic methods are not inherently limited to any particular set of extensional or intentional assumptions.
A comprehensive historical treatment of Meinong's philosophy is not attempted in these chapters, though some historical issues are addressed. Some of
Meinong's most important philosophical writings have now been translated or are expected to appear in the near future, and there are several recent
commentaries on Meinong's work, including Richard Routley's Exploring Meinong's Jungle and Beyond, Terence Parsons' Nonexistent Objects, and
Karel Lambert's Meinong and the Principle of Independence. These studies have contributed to renewed interest in and unprejudiced reappraisal of
object theory. Analyses of the subtle turnings in Meinong's thought over several decades may be found in J. N. Findlay's Meinong's Theory of Objects and
Values, Reinhardt Grossmann's Meinong, Robin Rollinger's Meinong and Husserl on Abstraction and Universals, and Janet Farrell Smith's
essay "The Russell-Meinong Debate". These works trace the complex development of Meinong's early nominalism or moderate Aristotelian realism in the
Hume-Studien to his mature realistic interpretation of relations and factual objectives or states of affairs as subsistent entities, the theory of
objects of higher order, and the doctrine of the Aussersein of the pure object. I have relied on these among other sources, I cannot hope to improve
on them in some respects, and my topic in any case is somewhat different. I am concerned exclusively with the logic, semantics, and metaphysics or ontology and
extraontology of Meinong's theory. Accordingly, I shall not discuss Meinong's epistemology, theory of perception, or value theory, which I nevertheless regard
as essential to an understanding of his philosophy as a whole. The logic, semantics, and metaphysics of object theory are in a sense the most fundamental
aspects of Meinong's thought, and therefore require the most careful preliminary investigation.
The formal system I develop is a variation of Meinong's vintage Gegenstandstheorie, refined and made precise by the techniques of mathematical
logic. The proposal offers an integrated three-valued formalization of Meinongian object theory with existence-conditional abstraction, and modal and
non-Russellian definite description subtheories. The logic is motivated by considerations about the need for an object theory semantics in the correct analysis
of ontological commitment and definite description. Applications of the logic are provided in phenomenological psychology, Meinongian mathematics and
metamathematics, criticism of ontological proofs for the existence of God in rationalist theodicy, the interpretation of fiction and scientific law, and formal
resolutions of Wittgenstein's private language argument and the paradox of analysis. In some areas it has been necessary to depart from Meinong's official
formulation of the theory. But I have tried to make these differences explicit, justifying them by argument and evaluating alternative interpretations. This I
believe is in keeping with the spirit of the first exponents of object theory, who did not advance their views as a fixed body of doctrine, but maintained an
openminded scientific attitude, and continually sought to achieve a more accurate approximation of the truth.
(1) I refer to Meinong's Gegenstandstheorie as a theory of objects, but alternative English equivalents have been proposed which should also be
considered. Reinhardt Grossmann argues that the theory must be called a theory of entities because it includes not merely objects (Objekte), but
objectives or states of affairs (Objektive). Grossmann, Meinong , pp. 111-12: "If we keep in mind that Meinong will eventually divide all
entities (other than so-called dignitatives and desideratives) into objects on the one hand and objectives on the other, we cannot speak of a theory of objects
as the all-embracing enterprise, but must speak -- as I have done and shall continue to do -- of a theory of entities." This argument is inconclusive,
since objectives are also objects of a kind, which Meinong describes as objects of higher order (hOherer Ordnung), superiora founded on inferiora or lower
order objects. An objective in any case can be as much an object of thought as any other nonobjective object, as when someone thinks about the fact that Graz
is in Austria, and thereby makes that state of affairs an object of thought. In this sense, the theory of objects, of lower and higher order, is already
all-embracing in the way Grossmann thinks Meinong's Gegenstandstheorie is meant to be. Nicholas Griffin identifies a further difficulty in Grossmann's
terminological recommendation. In "The Independence of Sosein from Sein" , p. 23, n. 2, Griffin writes: "Grossmann standardly uses the
term 'entity' for Meinong's 'Gegenstand', which is usually translated as 'object'. Since the Oxford English Dictionary defines 'entity' as 'thing that
has real existence', this switch is unsatisfactory. Accordingly I have switched back either to 'object' or to the even more neutral term `item'."
Griffin's choice of translation agrees with Richard Routley's in Exploring Meinong's Jungle and Beyond , where Routley refers to a theory of
items distinct in some respects from but directly inspired by Meinong's theory of objects. Routley's 'theory of item'' is perhaps better used to designate his
own special version of object theory, which he also denotes `noneism'. Neither Grossmann's nor Routley's terminology carries the intentional force of
'Gegenstand', which as Meinong explains is etymologically releated to 'gegenstehen', to stand against or confront, as objects of thought are
supposed to confront and presetn themselves to the mind.
(2) Alexius Meinong, "The Theory of Objects" ("Uber Gegenstandstheorie") , pp. 78-81.
(3) In his early work, Meinong expressed the belief that nonexistent objects have what he then called Quasisein. "The Theory of Objects",
pp. 84-5. Meinong here refers to the first edition of his Über Annahmen , p. 95. See J. N. Findlay, Meinong's Theory of Objects and
Values , pp. 47- 8. Routley, Exploring Meinong's Jungle and Beyond , pp. 442, 854. Routley reports that Meinong renounced the theory
of Quasisein in favor of the Aussersein thesis by 1899 (presumably with the publication in that year of his essay "Uber Gegenstände
höherer Ordnung und deren Verhältnis zur inneren Wahrnehmung"). As a statement of the frequent misinterpretations of Meinong's object theory that
persist today, see P.M. S. Hacker, Insight and Illusion: Themes in the Philosophy of Wittgenstein, revised edition , p. 8: "The Theory of
Descriptions ... enabled Russell to thin out the luxuriant Meinongian jungle of entities (such as the square circle) which, it had appeared, must in some sense
subsist in order to be talked about ..."
John, of St.Thomas (John Poinsot). 1949. "Entia Rationis and Second Intentions." The New Scholasticism no. 23:395-413.
Translated from Latin by John J. Glanville. Donald G. Hollenhorst and Yves R. Simon.
Kelley, Francis. 1978. "Some Observations on the 'Fictum' Theory in Ockham and Its Relation to Hervaeus Natalis." Franciscan
Studies no. 38:260-282.
Klima, Gyula. 1993. "The Changing Role of Entia rationis in Mediaeval Semantics and Ontology: A Comparative Study with a
Reconstruction." Synthese no. 96:25-58.
"In this paper I want to argue for two theses concerning entia rationis. My first thesis is that entia rationis, in what I would call
the via antiqua (1) sense, are objects of thought and signification, required by a certain kind of semantics, but undesirable as objects simpliciter in
ontology. My second thesis is that this systematic role of entia rationis in the via antiqua tradition of mediaeval thought was simply eliminated by the advent
of Ockhamist semantics, which opened the way towards a radical reinterpretation of the concept of entia rationis and towards a new research programme for
In the next section of this paper, therefore, I start my discussion with a case study of the systematic role played by entia rationis in the Philosophy of
St. Thomas Aquinas, a typical representative of the via antiqua tradition, occasionally drawing parallels with and taking illustrations from the works of other
mediaeval thinkers, too. (2) In the third section I give a systematic account of all kinds of entia rationis against the background of a comprehensive semantic
theory constructed in the spirit of the via antiqua tradition. In the fourth section I describe the ways William Ockham's approach changed this semantic
background, and examine how these changes influenced the concept of entia rationis. In the concluding section of the paper I present a simple formal
reconstruction of what I take to be Ockham's basic innovations in semantics, and discuss briefly the new ontological programme it initiated."
(1) One of course has to be very cautious when applying such an expression so much involved in scholarly debate. In the rest of this paper I want to use it
in a very restricted, technical sense, referring to a particular way of constructing semantic theory, sharply distinguishable from Ockham's and his followers'
way (both to be described later). What
I think may justify such a usage is the clear connection of these ways of doing semantics with the manners in which broader philosophical, theological, and
methodological issues were treated in the two great trends getting separated later in mediaeval thought. Indeed, this paper may perhaps serve as a modest
contribution to the characterisation of the two viae from the point of view of the connections between semantics and ontology. As to the debates concerning the
proper characterisation of via antiqua vs. via moderna, see, e.g., Moore (1989).
(2) To be sure, by presenting Aquinas's views as representative of what I call 'via antiqua semantics' I do not want to deny the immense variety of semantic
views in mediaeval philosophy even before Ockham. I take Aquinas's views as typical, however, as contrasted with Ockham's, precisely in those of their features
that rendered the via antiqua framework unacceptable for Ockham.
Kobusch, Theo. 1996. "Ens inquantum ens und ens rationis. Ein aristotelisches Problem in der Philosophie des Duns Scotus und Wilhelm
Ockham." In Aristotle in Britain during the Middle Ages, edited by Marenbon, John, 157-175. Turnhout: Brepols.
Proceedings of the International conference at Cambridge 8-11 April 1994 organized by the Société Internationale pour l'Étude de la
Kraus, Oskar. 1929. "Gegen entia rationis, sogennante irreale oder ideale Gegenstände." Philosophische Hefte no.
Lambertini, Roberto. 1989. "Resurgant entia rationis. Matthaeus de Augubio on the object of logic." Cahiers de l'Institut du
Moyen-Âge Grec et Latin no. 59:3-60.
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Marrama, Oberto. 2016. "Spinoza on Fictitious Ideas and Possible Entities." The European Legacy no. 21:359-372.
Abstract: "The aim of this article is twofold: to provide a valid account of Spinoza’s theory of fictitious ideas, and to demonstrate
its coherency with the overall modal metaphysics underpinning his philosophical system. According to Leibniz, in fact, the existence of romances and novels
would be sufficient to demonstrate, against Spinoza’s necessitarianism, that possible entities exist and are intelligible, and that many other worlds different
from ours could have existed in its place. I argue that Spinoza does not actually need to resort to the notion of possible entities in order to explain the
incontrovertible existence of fictions and fictitious ideas. In order to demonstrate this, I will first show how, according to Spinoza, true ideas of
nonexistent things need not be regarded as fictitious ideas. Then I will show by which means Spinoza can justify the real existence of fictions and fictitious
ideas in the human mind through our present knowledge of actually existing things, to conclude that fictitious ideas neither add anything to what we already
know of things, nor do they increase the extent of the existing conceivable reality by demanding the existence of possible non-actualised entities."
Marrone, FRancesco. 2017. "Ens reale / Ens rationis. Le mental et le réel dans le formalisme scotiste du XVIe siècle."
Quaestio. Journal of the History of Metaphysics no. 17:155-176.
McGrade, Arthur S. 1985. "Plenty of Nothing: Ockham's Commitment to Real Possibles." Franciscan Studies no.
Melamed, Yitzhak Y. 2000. "On the Exact Science of Nonbeings: Spinoza's View of Mathematics." Iyyun: The Jerusalem
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Millán-Puelles, Antonio. 1996. The Theory of the Pure Object. Heidelberg: Universitätsverlag C. Winter.
Original Spanish edition: Teoría el objeto puro, Madrid: Ediciones RIALP, 1990. Translated and edited by Jorge García-Gómez.
Murault, André de. 1990. "L'être du non-être en perspective aristotelicienne." Revue de Théologie et de Philosophie no.
Nichols, Ryan. 2002. "Reid on Fictional Objects and the Way of Ideas." The Philosophical Quarterly no. 52:582-601.
Novotný, Daniel D. 2006. "Prolegomena to a Study of Beings of Reason in Post-Suarezian Scholasticism, 1600-1650." Studia
Neoaristotelica no. 3:117-141.
"In 1597 Francisco Suárez published a comprehensive treatise on beings of reason (entia rationis) as part of his
Disputationes metaphysicae. Subsequent scholastic philosophers vigorously debated various aspects of Suárez's theory. The aim of this paper is to
identify some of the most controversial points of these debates, as they developed in the first half of the seventeenth century. In particular, I focus on the
intension and the extension of 'ens rationis', its division (into negations, privations and relations of reason) and its causes. Additionally, I will discuss
how Suárez's views sparked a number of debates within the classical view, debates which ultimately led to the emergence of various alternative theories,
especially among the Jesuits. These non-classical views radically revise the previous classical conception of beings of reason."
———. 2009. "Forty-Two Years after Suárez. Mastri and Belluto's Development of the Classical Theory of Entia Rationis."
Quaestio. Journal of the History of Metaphysics no. 8:473-498.
———. 2013. Ens Rationis from Suárez to Caramuel. A Study in Scholasticism of the Baroque Era. New York: Fordham University
"Beings of reason are impossible intentional objects, such as blindness and square-circle. The first part of this book is structured
around a close reading of Suarez's main text on the subject, namely Disputation 54. The second part centers on texts on this topic by other
outstanding philosophers of the time, such as the Spanish Jesuit Pedro Hurtado de Mendoza (1578-1641), the Italian Franciscan Bartolomeo Mastri (1602-73), and
the Spanish-Bohemian-Luxembourgian polymath Juan Caramuel de Lobkowitz (1606-82)."
———. 2015. "Suárez on Beings of Reason." In A Companion to Francisco Suárez, edited by Salas, Victor M. and Fastiggi,
Robert L., 248-273. Leiden: Brill.
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L. M. de Rijk, edited by Kardaun, Maria and Spruyt, Joke, 19-104. Leiden: Brill.
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of Skepticism. The Missing Medieval Background, edited by Lagerlund, Henrik, 97-118. Leiden: Brill.
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"Meinong is best known as the loser of the Russell-Meinong debate of 1905. Russell had the last word then, and (unfortunately) most of
us know only his version of Meinong's views.' But there is more to be said on Meinong's side. In an earlier paper I tried to develop a version of Meinong's
ontology which is clear, consistent, and immune to Russell's attacks. Most importantly, that theory preserves - rather than analyses away - Meinong's radical
and exciting ontological views: that there are non-existent objects; that there are impossible objects; etc.
So what? We want more of a theory than clarity and consistency; we also want reason to believe that it's true. How might we offer evidence in favor of such
a theory? I think that the only evidence that we ever have in favor of a general metaphysical theory is that it has many interesting applications. The
Meinongian theory agrees with more orthodox theories in its treatment of existing objects, so any evidence in its favor will consist of applications to issues
concerning non-existent objects. The present paper contains one of these; it's an application of the Meinongian theory to an analysis of fictional objects.
By "fictional" I do not mean "non-existent", but rather "occurring in fiction". Many fictional objects are indeed
non-existent, and it is their non-existence that in some sense causes all the problems, but fictional works also abound in reference to real objects, and this
fact must be taken into account.
I will begin by giving an exposition of the Meinongian ontology." (p. 73)
Pasniczek, Jacek. 1995. "Are Contradictions Still Lurking in Meinongian Theories of Objects?" Grazer Philosophische
Studien no. 50:293-303.
"Contemporary formalizations of Meinong's theory of objects prove that Russell's accusation of inconsistency of the theory is not
However, in the same formalizations there has appeared a new source of potential inconsistency. Theories of objects inspired by Meinong's ontology usually
include, in addition to basic principles of the ontology, abstraction-axioms for defining objects and properties (relations). Although these axioms seem to be
perfectly acceptable, they lead to paradoxes when adopted without any restrictions. These paradoxes may be understood as paradoxes of size (not of
self-referentiality): too many objects or too many properties are defined by the axioms. We can avoid them at the cost of counterintuitive stipulations, some
of them similar to those applied in set theory or in higher-order logics (like a stratification of formulas). We need, however, to look for phenomenologically
well-grounded protections against paradoxes. This search can deepen our understanding of the nature of Meinongian objects."
Perszyk, Kenneth J. 1993. Nonexistent Objects: Meinong and Contemporary Philosophy. Dordrecht: Kluwer.
Philippe, Marie-Dominique. 1975. "Originalité de "l'ens rationis" dans la philosophie de saint Thomas."
Angelicum no. 52:91-124.
"Si Aristote a eu le mérite de distinguer avec beaucoup de netteté l'art de la logique de la philosophie elle-même, considérant
cet art comme un organon, un instrument de la pensée, saint Thomas, commentateur d'Aristote, continue son effort; et dans une perspective critique il
précise que si la philosophie regarde l'ens naturae, l'ens extra animam, la logique, elle, considère l'ens rationis, ce qui ne peut naître
que dans notre connaissance intellectuelle (1).
Examinons ici les principaux textes où saint Thomas expose sa pensée sur ce point, pour essayer d'en saisir toute la signification et, à partir de là, mieux
comprendre le réalisme de sa métaphysique. Car si l'ens naturae ne se définit pas par l'ens rationis - c'est plutôt l'inverse qui a lieu,
puisque l'ens per se est l'ens extra animam, il peut cependant être mieux manifesté, pour nous, grâce à l'ens rationis. Il y a là
quelque chose d'analogue à ce qui a lieu entre f'ens naturae et l'ens artificiale (qui peut, lui aussi, être appelé ens rationis en
un sens élargi): l'ens artificiale se définit en fonction de l'ens naturae, et non l'inverse; mais la comparaison des deux nous aide à mieux
saisir ce qu'est l'ens naturae au sens fondamental et premier." (p. 91)
(1) Cf. Comm. Mét., IV, 4, n. 574.
(2) Comm. Mét., VII, 1, n. 1245.
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Charles and Stetter, Jack, 231-250. London: Bloomsbury Press.
"Although in his early works Spinoza is critical of “beings of reason” (entia rationis), nonetheless he thinks that they are useful in
certain contexts. This paper discusses the metaphysical and epistemological status of “beings of reason”—such as universals, measurements, and value terms—and
tries to explain how, even if they are problematic, they can be useful. I shall argue that Spinoza borrows from Suarez and other neo-scholastics the idea that
beings of reason are analogical. The regulatory function of beings of reason depends upon the possibility—a possibility that is most often not realized—of the
similarity of the imaginative entity to an actual being. I discuss the role of beings of reason in Spinoza’s conception of the part-whole relation and the
construction of an imaginative sign. I shall claim that the case of beings of reason sheds light on the nature of the imagination itself in the Ethics.
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Translated from the Latin with an introduction and notes by John P. Doyle.
"Suárez's Disputationes metaphysicae is to this day the most comprehensive and systematic treatise on metaphysics written from an Aristotelian
perspective. It addresses every metaphysical issue raised by medieval and Renaissance scholastics and discusses the views of all important figures who preceded
Suárez. As such it is a treasure-trove not only for the metaphysician but also for the historian and has exercised enormous influence on early modern
philosophy, particularly in Continental Europe. (...) The Disputation deals with mental entities and, therefore, contains relevant discussions to the
philosophy of mind and the ontological status of intensional objects."
Jorge J. E. Gracia - State University of New York at Buffalo.
"In a finely wrought and philosophically intelligible translation of this 54th Disputation of Suárez, John P. Doyle has documented with care the
ancient Greek and Medieval sources of Suárez's discussion, its influence upon many hitherto unknown late Scholastic writers and the relevance of Suárez's
intentionality theory to such prominent figures in early, middle and late Modern thought as Descartes, Berkeley, Leibniz, Kant, Brentano, Husserl, Meinong, B.
Russell, Heidegger and others."
Norman J. Wells, Boston College.
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