Volume 15, 1982
Meinong's Theory of Defective Objects
Meinong's theory of defective objects in On Emotional Presentation is ambiguous in ways which give rise to a dilemma. It is not clear whether or not defective objects are supposed to be a special kind of intentional object. If they are intentional objects, then a strengthened version of Mally's paradox about self-referential thought can be given which contradicts the intentionality thesis. But if they are not intentional objects, then thoughts with defective objects themselves constitute immediate counter-examples to the intentionality thesis. In either case, the theory of defective objects cannot be made logically consistent with both the possibility of self-referential thought and the intentionality thesis in its full generality.