Friday, July 17, 2009

Meandering we go . . .

Today is the birthday of Alexius Meinong (July 17, 1853 - November 27, 1920), philosopher and psychologist. Alexius Meinong is best known for his belief in nonexistent objects and his Theory of Abstract Objects (Gegenstandstheorie, 1904).

"He distinguished several levels of reality among objects and facts about them. Thus, existent objects participate in actual (true) facts about the world; subsistent (real but non-existent) objects appear in possible (but false) facts; and objects that neither exist nor subsist can only belong to impossible facts." direct quote source (1)

"Meinong drew a strict distinction between the content of a mental act and its object. Protesting what he called the "prejudice in favor of the actual" by traditional ontology, Meinong posited many levels of reality, including not only existence but also being, subsistence, and "being-so." In Meinong's fully developed theory of objects, it is possible not only to think about the golden mountain—even though it does not exist and may even be impossible—but also to know of it that it most certainly is made of gold." direct quote source (1)

Trivia bit: Meinong's jungles is the name given to the location of non-existent entities in his ontology.

Meinong image source (1)

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