Intentionality-Meinongianism and the Medievals

Stephen Louis Read, Graham George Priest

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Intentional verbs create three different problems: problems of non-existence, of indeterminacy, and of failure of substitutivity. Meinongians tackle the first problem by recognizing non-existent objects; so too did many medieval logicians. Meinongians and the medievals approach the problem of indeterminacy differently, the former diagnosing an ellipsis for a propositional complement, the latter applying their theory directly to non-propositional complements. The evidence seems to favour the Meinongian approach. Faced with the third problem, Ockham argued bluntly substitutivity when the intentional complement is non-propositional; Buridan developed a novel way of resisting substitutivity. Ockham's approach is closer to the Meinongian analysis of these cases; Buridan's seems to raise difficulties for a referential semantics. The comparison between Meinongian and medieval approaches helps to bring out merits and potential pitfalls of each.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)416 - 35
JournalAustralasian Journal of Philosophy
Publication statusPublished - 2004


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