Meinongian Merits and Maladies

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According to what has long been the dominant school of thought in analytic meta-ontology––defended not only by W. V. O. Quine, but also by Bertrand Russell, Alvin Plantinga, Peter van Inwagen, and many others––the meaning of ‘there is’ is identical to the meaning of ‘there exists.’ The most (in)famous aberration from this view is advanced by Alexius Meinong, whose ontological picture has endured extensive criticism (and borderline abuse) from several subscribers to the majority view. Meinong denies the identity of being and existence. That is, he denies that ‘there is’ and ‘there exists’ are semantically equivalent, and espouses a theory according to which there are things that do not exist. Here I defend a revised version of this view, which I call “Noncontradictory Neo-Meinongianism.” Focusing primarily on van Inwagen’s arguments in “Meta-Ontology” (1998), I argue that Noncontradictory Neo-Meinongianism is, on commonsensical grounds, preferable to the meta-ontological theories of van Inwagen and Meinong.
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Archival date: 2020-06-11
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