Thursday, March 22, 2012

Are Meinongian objects incomplete objects?

The Maverick asks whether Meinongian objects are 'incomplete'? According to his definition, these are objects which have all and only the properties specified in their descriptions. For example, The Yellow Brick Road is described (in the story) as being yellow, but is not described as being coloured. So The Yellow Brick Road is yellow, because the property of being yellow is ascribed to it, but does have the property of being coloured. So Meinongian objects are 'incomplete'.

Which makes no sense to me. Every yellow object is coloured. Therefore there are no yellow objects which are not coloured. Therefore there is no 'incomplete object' such as Maverick has described. You object: Bill has described such an object, therefore there is such an object as Bill has described. I reply, the verb 'described' is logically intransitive. It takes a grammatical object, i.e. an accusative, but no logical object. 'S describes A' does not entail 'for some x, S describes x'. I can describe a yellow brick road, and perhaps I can even describe a road that is yellow but not coloured. But it does not follow that there is some yellow non-coloured object described by me, for no object is yellow but not coloured.

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8 Comments:

Blogger Borys said...

I wanted to ask about it at The Maverick, but it seems that BV has turned off commenting (?). So since you reply to his post, let me ask you about it. :)

What is Meinongian object, what is intentional object, and what is the relation between these two?

Thanks!

1:27 pm  
Blogger Edward Ockham said...

(1) A Meinongian object is by definition an object that does not exist.

(2) An 'intentional object' is by definition something which is the object of a desire, a wish, a thought etc, i.e. is the accusative of some mental state. Some intentional objects are also real objects. E.g. the person I was thinking about a minute, namely George Osborne. Some aren't, namely the fictional character I am now thinking about, namely Frodo Baggins.

On the relation between the two, obviously the latter sort (such as Frodo Baggins) are Meinongian.

1:55 pm  
Blogger Borys said...

Once again, thank you. But does it mean that all Meinongian objects must be intentional?

5:11 pm  
Blogger Edward Ockham said...

>>Once again, thank you. But does it mean that all Meinongian objects must be intentional?


No - as already explained, I can think of George Osborne, so the object of my thought is him, so he is an 'intentional' object. But he is real, and so not Meinongian.

To be intentional is to be object of thought. To be Meinongian is to be nonexistent object of thought (according to this absurd theory).

8:45 pm  
OpenID Jan said...

Edward, your counterexample shows that not every intentional object is Meinongian, whereas Borys asks whether every Meinongian object is intentional.

The notion of incompleteness seems to implies so. To be incomplete means to have only the properties specified in the description. But that there is a description implies that there is a description-giver.

I have to say the notion of a non-existent object strikes me as an intellectual perversity.

11:07 pm  
Blogger Anthony said...

Speaking of absurd theories...

"Every yellow object is coloured."

But, a la "some men are not men", some yellow objects (e.g. the Yellow Brick Road) are not coloured. Some yellow objects are not yellow objects. Right?

11:24 pm  
Blogger Edward Ockham said...

>>But, a la "some men are not men", some yellow objects (e.g. the Yellow Brick Road) are not coloured. Some yellow objects are not yellow objects. Right?

Yes, quite.

8:34 am  
Blogger Edward Ockham said...

>>Edward, your counterexample shows that not every intentional object is Meinongian, whereas Borys asks whether every Meinongian object is intentional.

You are right, my mistake. Is every Meinongian object intentional? That would be a good subject for a further post.

8:39 am  

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