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Philosophy of Sciences

2020 year, number 4


Konstantin Gennadievich Frolov1,2
1St. Petersburg State Electrotechnical University, 5, Popova st., St. Petersburg, 197376, Russia
2Institute of Philosophy, 5, Mendeleev Line, St. Petersburg, 199034, Russia
Keywords: existence, theory of descriptions, paradox of nonexistent objects, B. Russell, A. Meinong


The main point of the article is that the Russellian analysis of the concept of existence does not provide a significant economy of ontology in comparison with the Meinongian one. The reason lies in the unavoidable need to preserve the possibility of numerical distinguishing between various nonexistent (unrealized) objects. For example, Sherlock Holmes is definitely not the same as the largest prime number. At the same time, in order to distinguish these two objects unrealized in the actual world, we need something which can be distinguished. It is this need for truthmakers for a vast class of true statements about nonexistent objects that prevents us from obtaining a more economical ontology. In particular, the refusal to treat these truth factors as objects in favor of treating them as unrealized combinations of properties only serves to revise their categorization (we transfer them from the individual level to the level of properties). However, such unrealized combinations of properties themselves can be considered as typical abstract objects, which nullifies all efforts to build a more economical ontology.