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The Monist

Volume 97, Issue 4, October 2014

Metaontology

Jody Azzouni
Pages 443-459
DOI: 10.5840/monist201497429

Freeing Talk of Nothing from the Cognitive Illusion of Aboutness

Rejecting Quine’s criterion, strictly speaking, yields the neutralist interpretation of the quantifiers. Quantifiers, by virtue of their logical role, impose no metaphysical conditions whatsoever. According to neutralism, the bare (or formal) quantifier-role can be supplemented with varous metaphysical constraints, or none. A comparison between Pure Metaphysical Deflationism (a position directly motivated by the neutralist interpretation of the quantifiers) and Aboutness Meinongianism is undertaken. Evaluating the evidential role of aboutness intuitions is the primary tool for determining whether Aboutness Meinongianism is right about there being an aboutness relationship between the cognitive experience of what does not exist (and aboutness relations of nonreferring quantifiers and terms) and what does not exist.